GAA: Super Shamrocks the kings of Derry
Bring on the Down champs
Ballinderry 1-11 Lavey 0-6
THE form book held out as county champions Ballinderry easily retained their Harp Senior title before a big crowd at Celtic Park.
In a poor game Ballinderry were simply too good for an enthusiastic Loup side that didn't get a single point from open play. All six scored came from Ronan Rocks frees.
Ballinderry are now lined up for a clash with Down champions Mayobridge, the side they defeated in a magnificent Ulster final last year.
That game will be played on October 27 at a venue in Down, most likely Newry.
The champions did what they had to do, always the mark of a very good side.
Loup had begun brightly and confidently ran at the Ballinderry defence, setting up chances which they were unable to take.
Ballinderry also wasted a number of early chances and totalled ten wides over the hour.
But they had the ability to make match-winning switches including bringing Enda Muldoon to midfield when John O'Kane began to look dominant in that area.
They also had James Conway at midfield who won the man-of-the-match award. Ironically it is sponsored by Loup manager Patsy Forbes.
Such is the quality of this Ballinderry side they have leaders all over the place.
One example on Sunday in front of a crowd of some 4,000 was Darren Conway who had been quiet in the championship run to date. He turned in a fine attacking show and scored 1-3 all from play.
Gerard Cassidy was his usual accurate self from frees while in the scoring department Gilligan, Bateson and of course Muldoon, who popped up everywhere, were in top form.
apart from the first 15 minutes the champions had control at midfield where Johnny McBride was below par for Loup. In defence Niall McCusker was rock solid at full back with Paul Wilson and Kevin McGuckin giving nothing away.
Loup could not cash in on their good star. After 20 minutes the sides were level at 0-1 each with Loup playing into the strong breeze.
The arrival of Muldoon at midfield was too much for them to handle at it was all downhill from there.
The losers' problems lay mainly in attack where Rocks could do little from open play.
John O'Kane did well at midfield while at the back keeper Shane McGuckin along with Paddy McGuinness, Padraig O'Kane and Paul McFlynn all played well.
Ballinderry took just 12 seconds to score when Gerard Cassidy got on the end of a Sean Donnelly shot to sent over.
Loup replied with five minutes of pressure which ended with Rocks levelling.
Gradually the game developed into a midfield scramble with poor shooting and defences on top and it wasn't until the 20th minute that the next score came from a rather fortunate free from Cassidy.
Eight minutes from half-time the tide turned firmly in Ballinderry's favour when Bateson and Muldoon combined to send Conway through for the only goal of the game. Rocks converted a free at the other end but the champions were now beginning to assert themselves and by the half led 1-4 to 0-3.
They continued after the break with a great James Conway point and he then made a great run through the Loup defence only to see his goalbound shot wonderfully saved by McGuckin.
It took Loup until the 14th minute of the half to get back on the scoreboard and at that stage the Shamrocks had their name on the John McLaughlin Cup.
As the game dwindled to a conclusion Ballinderry fired a warning shot to the watching Mayobridge team with three wonderful points from the impressive Conway.
Meanwhile Mark Lynch made his own little piece of history when he added a Derry under-16 medal to his All Ireland medal won six days before. He gave a super performance as the Banagher side he captained had a fine 2-12 to 19 victory over a highly rated Bellaghy side.