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Ballinderry seal hat-trick of titles

By cahAir o'kane

Ballinderry 3-10 Ballinascreen 2-7: Ballinderry joined their immortals of the early 80s by completing the club's second three-in-a-row with a comprehensive win over Ballinascreen yesterday.

The Shamrocks had last achieved the feat from 1980-82 and it was matched by the current crop, as goals from Darren Lawn, Michael McIver and Daniel McKinless helped them to a six-point win.

It could have been a different story had Ballinascreen captain Benny Heron not missed two penalties, but there is little doubt the best side in Derry are champions again.

No-one had come within seven points of them en route to the decider and only a fisted injury-time goal by Paul Burns got 'Screen within two scores.

It had started well for the underdogs, appearing in their first final since 1994, as Mickey McBride burst through to fire low past Mickey Conlan after 11 minutes.

That put 'Screen three up but Martin Kinless' were level by the time Lawn, playing in his first final, broke through and netted.

They followed it up seconds later as the other wing back, Michael McIver, drilled a brilliant low finish to make it 2-5 to 1-2 on the scoreboard.

Three minutes from the break, 'Screen were handed a potential lifeline. Benny Heron's shot was blocked by a combination of legs and referee Barry Cassidy awarded a penalty for a footblock.

However, Heron, having netted two penalties earlier in the championship, indecisively rolled his spot-kick wide of Mickey Conlan's left-hand post.

Ballinderry skipper Connor Nevin kicked the final point of the half to leave them 2-6 to 1-2 ahead.

However, 'Screen had the advantage of a stiff breeze for the second period.

Seamus Bradley had an instant goal chance but was brilliantly blocked by Gareth McKinless and by the time Mickey Boyle's side created their next goalscoring chance, the game was gone.

Aaron Devlin, a half-time sub, played in Daniel McKinless to put the game to bed when he bravely beat Danny Devlin to the ball and fisted it home after 39 minutes.

He took a sore belt for his trouble but the pain quickly subsided as man-of-the-match Coilin Devlin landed two points to make it 3-9 to 1-3.

It was looking like a potential landslide at that stage but Ballinascreen made a fight of it in the last quarter. Carlus McWilliams and Seamus Bradley both pointed before they were awarded a second penalty when Mickey McBride was fouled by Kevin McGuckin.

Heron's strike was much more decisive but he stood in disbelief as the ball cannoned past him on its way back out off the crossbar. It was a sad end to his championship, given how had been inspirational and registered 6-16 en route to the final.

Ryan Bell kicked Ballinderry's final score with his left foot and Burns' late goal, after a mistake in the goalmouth, was little consolation.

Ballinascreen's 40 year wait goes on, as does Ballinderry's domination.

Ballinderry: M Conlan; R Scott, C Nevin (0-1), M McIver (1-0); R Wilson, G McKinless, D Lawn (1-0); K McGuckin, J Conway; D McKinless, D Conway (0-1), D McGuckin (1-0); C Devlin (0-5), R Bell (0-3, 0-1 45'), C Gilligan. Subs: A Devlin for D Conway (HT), E Muldoon for G McKinless (43), F Bell for D McKinless (49), M McGeehan for M Conlan (57), C Wilkinson for Gilligan (57)

Ballinascreen: D Devlin; P McGlade, M McShane, D Scullion; R Devlin, D McBride (0-1), K Conway; M McBride (1-1), P Bradley; J Scullion, B Heron (0-1 45'), C McWilliams (0-1); S Bradley (0-3, 0-1f), G Kelly, Eamon Murray. Subs: Eunan Murray for Kelly (42), E McKillion for J Scullion (43), P Burns (1-0) for Eamon Murray, G Conway for S Bradley (57), S Woods for R Devlin (59)

Referee: B Cassidy (Bellaghy).

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