Ballinderry 2-5 Kilrea 0-6: Two first-half goals from Raymond Wilkinson and a platform of midfield dominance built by Kevin ‘Moss’ McGuckin and Martin Harney saw Ballinderry Shamrocks repel the challenge of Kilrea at Celtic Park yesterday.
Kilrea were given scant time to adjust to their heady new surroundings as first-time finalists as the Shamrocks rocked them with a goal after only 43 seconds.
Harney’s long ball was palmed down by Enda Muldoon to Wilkinson who finished low past Paul Morgan from a tight angle.
Kilrea pulled a score back through Benny Quigg but a long range Harney point a Conleith Gilligan free stretched the Shamrocks’ lead to 1-2 to 0-1.
James Kielt scored Kilrea’s second point from a free but on 25 minutes Ballinderry repeated the formula that led to their first goal as Muldoon again knocked a long ball down to Wilkinson to thump into the net.
Kilrea did manage the final score of the half with a point from Enda McAleese but trailed by 2-2 to 0-3 at the break.
With a lead to defend and now facing the breeze, Ballinderry withdrew Muldoon to midfield at the start of the second half and it proved a very effective tactic as the former All Star won a feast of possession.
Kilrea desperately needed early scores but couldn’t break down Ballinderry’s defence and when the first score of the second period did come it went the way of the Shamrocks with Gilligan pointing from a counter attack.
In the course of the second half Kilrea would kick 10 wides and it took the Pearse’s until the 46th minute before they managed to trouble the scorers again as Charlie Kielt pointed from a free which was soon cancelled out with a similar effort from Gilligan.
To get back into the game Kilrea needed a goal but the closest they came was when sub Denvir Johnston saw his shot blocked by keeper Michael Conway.
Kilrea did manage a couple of late scores from Tiernan Rafferty and a James Donaghy free but the last word went to Gilligan who pointed from play.
Ballinderry: M Conlan; D Bell, Kevin McGuckin, C Wilkinson; M McIver, C Nevin, R Scott; Kevin McGuckin, M Harney (0-1); D Conway, R Wilkinson (2-0), T Martin; R Bell, E Muldoon, C Gilligan (0-4). Subs: A Devlin for Martin (37), D McGuckin for D Conway (48), N McCusker for Bell (59), R Wilson for McIver (60).
Kilrea: P Morgan; J Darragh, A Rainey, M McWilliams; B Og McAlary, L Morrow, J Morgan; C Kielt (0-1), J Kielt (0-1); Eamon Morgan, J Donaghy (0-1), E McAleese (0-1); G McWilliams, B Quigg (0-1), P McNeill. Subs: P McAlary for E Morgan (19), T Rafferty (0-1) for G McWilliams (40), D Johnston for P McNeill (45), E Darragh for Quigg (54), Jack Kielt for J Morgan (60).
Referee: Des Loughrey (Limavady).