Gilligan leads the way as Ballinderry make semis
Dromore 0-12 Ballinderry 1-11
Ballinderry justified their favourites tag to set up a mouth-watering clash with All-Ireland champions Crossmaglen, but they didn’t get matters their own way against a battling Dromore side at Omagh yesterday afternoon.
The Tyrone champions recovered from a poor start to really take the game to their opponents, but in the end Ballinderry’s greater experience at this level stood to them with Kevin McGuckin, Enda Muldoon and Conleith Gilligan all playing key roles in their victory.
The only goal of the game arrived with only 40 seconds on the clock as a high ball in from Ryan Bell saw Michael McIver get on the end of it to punch it into the net.
Eoin McCusker opened their account with a point and by the 22nd minute the Tyrone champions had their noses in front thanks to a trio of points from Paddy Montague.
Ballinderry were struggling at that stage but Enda Muldoon, who began at full-forward, came out to the middle of the field and he made a massive impact.
Gilligan knocked over a free and right half-back Raymond Wilkinson hit the target as well although the score of the game came from Muldoon, a sublime effort from out on the right wing.
Montague weighed in with his fourth point of the half but it was Ballinderry who led 1-6 to 0-7 at half time.
Gilligan continued to torment in the second half as he landed the opening two points.
McCusker responded with a brilliant point but almost immediately teenager Aaron Devlin got an equally good score.
McCusker converted two frees as well as pointing from play but Gilligan kept the scoreboard ticking over for the winners. With three minutes left, half-back Ryan Scott hit a point to put the Derry champions three in front but there was still more drama to come.
A minute from the end of normal time Ballinderry had Martin Harney sent off for a second yellow card offence and when McCusker converted the resulting free it was still up for grabs.
Dromore though finished with fourteen men as well when substitute Adrian McCaffery was straight red carded for a foul.
In the final attack of the game Fergal Quinn played a high ball into the Ballinderry area but keeper Michael Conlon got a punch to it to take it away from his opposite number Peter Ward and Ballinderry made the semi-final.
Dromore: P Ward, F O’Neill, C McCarron, R McMenamin, C O’Hara, N Sludden [0-1], K Donnelly, H McNulty, P Montague [0-4], R McNabb, E McCusker [0-7], S O’Neill, S McDonnell, E O’Neill, C McCullagh. Subs: C O’Neill for Donnelly, F Quinn for F O’Neill, S McNabb for E O’Neill, A McCaffrey for Montague
Ballinderry: M Conlon, D Bell, K McGuckin, C Wilkinson, R Wilkinson [0-1], D Conway, R Scott [0-1], K M McGuckin, E Muldoon [0-1], A Devlin [0-2], C Nevin, M McIver [1-0], C Gilligan [0-6],M Harney, R Bell. Subs: C Devlin for R Bell, M Bell for D Bell, D McGuckin for Nevin
Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).