Captain Gavin McGeehan celebrates. (Pics: Colm Heron)
Ulster MFC Final
They had won it once and after Paul Sherlock's second goal, Ballinderry had to go an win this game again with Ryan Scullion's late free clinching the Shamrocks' fourth title at the prestigious tournament in Belfast.
Ballinderry led by four points with as many minutes remaining. The big, physical minors of Scotstown stuck their chests out and went in for the kill.
One defensive slip turned what looked like being a cruise to the line into being a scrap to be first to the chequered flag. Paul Sherlock nipped in to hit the net and Kieran Hughes, the man who tormented Derry in an Ulster minor semi-final back in the summer, clipped over the equaliser.
With everyone preparing for extra-time, Tony Martin had other ideas. In the next play, he ran 40 yards before he was scythed down and Scullion tapped over the free.
“Maybe I looked cool but I knew that all the hopes of Ballinderry were on my shoulders as I steadied myself to take the kick. It was probably the lost important kick of my career,” Scullion said.
Ballinderry spectators pouring onto the pitch to mob their young heroes.
Ballinderry manager Karl Conlon dedicated the win to the late Damien Wilkinson
After a blistering start that saw them lead 1-2 to no score after four minutes, Ballinderry went off the boil, unable to take full advantage of the breeze.
John Devlin and Aaron Devlin struggled to win primary ball in the middle of the field, Scotstown captain Gavin Turley and the outstanding Peter O’Hara becoming more and more dominant in the middle of the field.
Ballinderry were extremely fortunate not to concede two penalties, the first in the 29th minute when Paul Sherlock had his jersey stretched in the goalmouth, the second two minutes into the second half when Orin Heaphy also had his jersey clearly tugged in the goalmouth before he flashed a low shot across the goalmouth and wide.
Still when Scullion flashed home the second Ballinderry goal five minutes into the second half to open up an eight point cushion there seemed no way back for the Monaghan side.
Eoin Anderson performed well in Ballinderry's defence
Fortunately, despite some wayward distribution out of defence by Ballinderry, the losers showed a total lack of composure at times when trying to hit the target, McCarey and Hughes particularly wilful. Eoin Anderson and Eamon Wilson made some timely interceptions, while Scullion’s workrate was phenomenal. Tony Martin roved to telling effect and Ballinderry just about weathered the storm to take the title in an absorbing game.
BALLINDERRY: Stephen Cassidy; Eoin Anderson, Eamon Wilson, Jamie Martin; Paul McIvor, Canice Rocks, Kevin Forbes; John Devlin, Aaron Devlin (0-1); Martin Devlin, Ryan Scullion (1-4, 3f), Dermot McGuckin; Fintan Bell (1-2), Gavin McGeehan (0-1), Tony Martin
SUBS: Ryan Wilkinson for M Devlin (58), Conan Devlin for T Martin (62).
SCOTSTOWN: Sean Gilheaney; Kieran Toner, Kieran Hughes (0-1), Michael McPhillips; Padraig Sheehan, Damian McArdle, Mark Corrigan; Gavin Turley, Peter O’Hara; Shane Carey, Aaron McCarey (0-4, 2f), Orin Heaphy; Paul Sherlock (2-0), Mark Treanor, Conor Caulfield
SUBS: Donal McCague (0-2) for P Sheehan (19).
REF: Colm Broderick (Down).
Celebration time for Ballinderry
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