DERRY JFC SEMI-FINAL
Two goals inside seven minutes at the end of the first half set Desertmartin on their way to a spot in this weekend's junior final.
While the goals came from Ballerin errors on Friday night, it would be unfair on the winners to say their passage was all about luck. They attacked the game with vigour from the first whistle and passed up two other goal chances during the first half.
It was a cagey opening. Both teams found themselves in the junior ranks after ending up on the wrong end of the changing league structures. There was a lot at stake.
Desertmartin's win over Moneymore in the season's first game was the club's first championship win since 2015, but after the preamble of their group of death, their expected quarter-final waltz set them for the first battle with real meaning.
For the first quarter of sussing one another out, Ballerin would've been happy enough of where they stood. They needed Ronan Mullan to parry away an early Oran Kelly goal chance.
But a the half wore on, under Banagher's fantastic new floodlights, it was Desertmartin who had more fluency in their play and two goals left them 2-3 to 0-3 ahead at the break.
Enda McGuckin and Shane McIntyre exchanged early second-half points, but it was a goal Ballerin needed. McGreevey and Paul McGovern had the Saffrons 2-6 to 0-4 ahead after 41 minutes.
Three minutes later, Ballerin got their chance. Paul Keane was involved in the creation and when corner back Shane Ferris was put through on goal, he smashed a shot goalwards. It was powerful, it was now and Adrian McGuigan was never going to save it, but the ball pinged back off the inside of the posts. It would've cut the gap to four points.
Gary Keane and Callum Bradley hit points inside a minute, but Gavin Donnelly swung over a fine score to seal the win. In the closing stages, goalkeeper McGuigan plucked a dangerous high ball in the goalmouth to send side to the final with a clean sheet intact.
Desertmartin now play the winners of Saturday's clash of Craigbane and Magilligan (2.00 Dungiven), a game to be played behind closed doors.
There will be analysis, reports and photos from both games in Tuesday's County Derry Post.
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