Collie Devlin's up for final Ballinderry push
ULSTER CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
The notion that Ballinderry endured their toughest test of the year in overcoming Kilcoo in Sunday's Ulster club championship semi-final is not necessarily endorsed by the players themselves.
Long-serving forward Collie Devlin, whose three points from frees had much to do with their victory, makes no bones about putting the Derry side's championship odyssey into perspective.
"While Kilcoo gave us a hard time, every Championship match we have played has been a real battle," insists former Derry ace Devlin.
"From our first match when we managed to snaffle a couple of late goals that allowed us to get past Newbridge we have been pushed to the pin of our collar.
"Sometimes the final score in games would give the impression that we had it straightforward, but that hasn't been the case."
Relief as much as delight is the overriding emotion in the Ballinderry camp with the level-headed Devlin playing his own part in ensuring that feet remain firmly planted on the ground.
"Clonoe played mighty stuff against us in our first Ulster Club Championship match and we were lucky in the end to get past them," he said.
"Then we met Scotstown who are a very good side and we didn't play well at all. It went right to the wire and a late point from Ryan Bell got us over the line.
"Kilcoo never gave up the fight against us although the fact that we had to play against them with 13 men for a spell was worrying from our viewpoint.
"These sort of games are a grind, they tend to be low-scoring, the weather can be a factor and the pressure is always on.
"I feel that what we have endured in the Ulster Club Championship to date will stand to us for the final against Glenswilly on Sunday week. We will get the batteries re-charged – there's nothing left in the legs at the minute, to be honest – and we will be up for battle again."