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Ballygalget make light work of Lisbellaw on way to Ulster final

Ballygalget 2-26 Lisbellaw 0-7

By John Martin

Ballygalget strolled to their first Ulster senior club hurling final since 2008 with a 25-point win over Lisbellaw at Corrigan Park, Belfast yesterday.

Caolan Bailie and Danny Doran added second half goals for the Down men but the game was over as a contest long before Doran's 50th minute strike.

The Down champions came into the game as strong favourites and by the opening quarter hour had justified that tag, leading the Fermanagh side by 0-10 to 0-1. Sean Corrigan got his -and Lisbellaw's - second point on 24 minutes but Ballygalget's procession of points continued with seven different scorers accounting for their 0-17 half-time tally.

The Down side hit just one wide in the opening half, while Lisbellaw enjoyed a slightly better second quarter with Dylan Bannon joining Corrigan on the scoresheet to leave the score 0-17 to 0-4 at the break.

Ryan Bogue cut the gap after the restart but the respite was momentary for the Erne men with Bailie, Danny Toner and Cormac Coulter all adding points. Bailie's powerful run at the Lisbellaw defence in the 38th minute produced the game's first goal and Declan McGarry was in superb form to deny him a second goal minutes later.

McGarry could do nothing about Toner's strike to make the score 2-23 to 0-6, while substitute Gareth Johnston converted two late frees. There was time for Bogue to superbly convert a sideline cut for Lisbellaw's last score of the day, while Conor Doran and Bailie tagged on late points for the Down men.

Ballygalget now face reigning champions Slaughtneil in the final on 22 October.

"We haven't talked about an Ulster final at all. I know it's a bit of a cliché but we're just taking it one game at a time," said Ballygalget manager Paddy Monan.

"We've won today, and now we're in an Ulster final against Slaughtneil. It's going to be a huge step up. We scored 2-16 today. If we were lucky enough to score that against Slaughtneil, it still might not be enough to beat them. But these boys are up for a challenge, there's been questions asked of them all year in the Antrim League and the Down championship and they've answered them all. We're not fearful of Slaughtneil but we know how good a team they are and how big a task it is for us."

Lisbellaw boss Brendan McGarry wasn't helped by a long injury list but remained proud of his players who will drop down a grade next year having completed the requisite five years in the senior championship since winning the intermediate title in 2012.

"We are a bit of a victim of our own success to be sitting in the senior championship for five years. The scoreline flatters Ballygalget a small bit but I'm very proud of the boys and the effort they put into today," said McGarry. "We've put in some good performances (at senior) but we are playing out of our depth and it's difficult for us. There's such a big gap between intermediate and senior."

Ballygalget: J Crowe; B Byers, E Clarke, J Smyth; E Coulter, B Toner, P McManus; D McManus (0-2), J Doran (0-1); J McManus (0-1), G Roddy, M Fisher (0-4, 2f); C Coulter (0-4, 2f), C Bailie (1-6, 2f), D Toner (0-5) . Subs: D Doran (1-0) for D McManus (ht), P McManus for M Fisher (39), R Watson for J McManus (41), C Doran (0-1) for J Doran (49), G Johnston (0-2f) for G Roddy (51)

Lisbellaw: D McGarry; A Breslin, M Slevin, D Teague; T Cleary, K Kehoe, JP McGarry; R Bogue (0-4, 1f, 0-1 sideline), C Corrigan; C McShea, D Bannon (0-1), R Porteous; S Corrigan (0-3f), E Cleary, D Russell. Subs: O Russell for E Cleary (39), C McTeague for K Kehoe (52), B Jones for D Bannon (54), M Martin for D Russell (58), J Gavin for D Teague (62)

Referee: B Winters (Tyrone).

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