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Ballycran's late, late show

A goal a minute into added time by corner forward Aidan Clarke snatched victory for Ballycran over Portaferry in this Morgan Milk Down SHC final in wet and windy Pairc Tomas Ruiseil Downpatrick yesterday.

In a game that was played in horrible conditions, especially in the first half, the standard of hurling remained good with keen exchanges throughout.

This was a game that saw the free takers on both sides contributing much to the contest.

However, a brilliant display of free taking by Portaferry's Kevin McGarry was spoiled when he missed an easy free with the last puck of the game that would have given his side a replay.

Playing with the breeze and rain in the opening half Ballycran opened with three points from Scott Nicholson from frees.

He also added a further three while Simon Wilson and Conor Woods also had points.

Portaferry, thanks to Kevin McGarry who scored thee points and Paul Braniff one, fought back but a brilliant save by the Ballycran keeper Stephen Keith from a Braniff penalty saw Ballycran lead by 0-9 to 0-4 at half time.

Portaferry restarted with conviction and purpose and three points from frees by Kevin McGarry and one by Ruairi McGrattan, who won the player of the match award, had the sides level at 0-10 each with seven minutes remaining.

Two Kevin McGarry pointed frees shot Portaferry ahead but in a titanic finish Scott Nicholson scored a Ballycran point while the hard working Simon Wilson set up Aidan Clarke for the goal that saw Ballycran regain the title they last held two years ago.

Portaferry: K. Keating; J. Merron, C. Coulter, P. Smith, C. O'Neill, B. Coleman, D. Coffey, R. McGrattan (0-1), C. O'Prey, K. McGarry (0-9, 0-7 frees), P. Braniff (0-1), J. Convery, C. Mageean, S. Murray (0-1), A. O'Prey (0-1). Sub: J. Trainor for B. Coleman (54).

Ballycran: S. Keith; M. Hughes, S. Ennis, P. Brennan, A. Bell (0-1), M. Ennis, P. Hughes, C. Flynn, C. Woods (0-1), C. Dorrian, P. Flynn, S. Nicholson (0-6. 0-3 frees,0-1 65), J. Coyle, S. Wilson (0-2), A. Clarke (1-1). Subs: P. Keith for P. Brennan (ht), C. McManus for P. Flynn (45).

Referee: D. Magee (Kilclief).

Belfast Telegraph


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