A rampant Ballybay ended the club's 25 year senior championship famine with a scintillating display that Clontibret just simply could not match in this exciting senior championship final.
Clontibret opened the scoring with a point by Dessie Mone in the third minute, in front of a crowd of just over 3,600 in Clones, but that was to be the only time they were in front as Ballybay took increasing control through the influence of Paul Finlay in midfield and a tight marking defence that was led by Drew Wylie.
Ballybay also held a distinct edge up front with the Malone brothers, Colin and Hugh, along with Christopher McGuinness, forming a fairly potent full forward line that had the Clontibret defence in difficulties.
Ballybay equalised through Christopher McGuinness in the seventh minute and then went on to take the lead with points by McGuinness and a Finlay free to lead by two after nine minutes.
Ballybay went on to lead at half-time by 1-5 to 0-3, Colin Malone with the goal in the 19th minute and laid the foundation for this victory with a blistering start to the second half that saw them hit five unanswered points in the opening six minutes to put them 10 in front at that stage.
By the 20 minute mark though Clontibret were right back in the game with points by Dessie Mone and Connor McManus before Vincent Corey struck for the first of his two goals in the 18th minute.
Finlay converted a free for Ballybay who now had to defend in numbers as Clontibret threw everything into attack in an effort to salvage the situation.
Another high centre saw Vincent Corey fist a second goal on the stroke of time but Ballybay held out as Ryan Wylie hit the insurance point two minutes into stoppage time to send the huge Ballybay contingent in Clones into rapturous celebrations.
Ballybay: S Gorman, F Smyth, D Wylie, R Wylie (0-1), M McArdle, B McCabe, B Wylie, S McQuillan (0-1), T O’Neill, T Kerr, P Finlay (0-4, 4f), F McArdle, H Malone (0-2), C McGuinness (0-3), C Malone (1-1). Subs: S McGuinness for C Malone, C McAviney for S McQuillan.
Clontibret: A Morgan, C Duffy, C Greenan, D Carragher, D Mooney, C Boyle, M Corey, P McGuigan, JP Mone, D Mone |(0-2), V Corey (2-0), P Boyle, R McGuigan, F Mone, C McManus (0-3, 1f, ’45). Subs: David Savage for C Greenan, E Greenan for F Mone, R Gorman for R McGuigan, N Morgan for P Boyle, Declan Savage for A Morgan.
Referee: G McCarron (Emyvale).