Shamrocks not out for revenge
REVENGE will not be an issue for Ballinderry in this weekend’s Ulster Club Senior Football Championship semi-final according to Ronan McGuckin and James Conway.
That’s despite the fact that Crossmaglen have knocked Ballinderry out of the competition on the last two occasions they have met.
Ronan McGuckin retired from club football after last year’s county final. He played in the 2006 and the 2008 games against the Armagh champions, but he said that those results are old history.
“I have not heard anyone talking about revenge in Ballinderry. The mood around the place has been buzzing after they won the Championship. Revenge doesn’t come into it at all. All they are doing is trying to prepare to play the best team in the country.”
Crossmaglen beat Ballinderry in 2006, 0-5 to 0-3, in the Ulster club final at Croke Park. On a poor day, with McGuckin playing at centre half back, Ballinderry didn’t score until the 50th minute from Conleith Gilligan. He scored twice and Enda Muldoon got one. Cross’ points were scored by Oisin McConville, David McKenna, Brendan McKeown and Johnny Murtagh. James Bateson was sent off midway through the first half.
In 2008, their Ulster final meeting was more entertaining, though again Ballinderry had to deal with a sending off, this time it was Conor Wilkinson. At half time, Cross led 0-6 to 0-4, but a Niall McCusker goal at the death earned the Shamrocks a replay. Michael McNamee and John McEntee were sent off in the second half.
However, Crossmaglen won the replay 0-12 to 1-4 at Enniskillen. The first half ended with a mass brawl in the tunnel, with the half-time score at 0-4 to 0-1 in Crossmaglen’s favour.
Without Muldoon, Ballinderry struggled at midfield, though James Conway worked tirelessly to keep up with John Donaldson and David McKenna. But in the end, it was the experience of Donaldson, McConville and Francie Bellew that saw Cross earn their third Ulster title on the trot.
“That was a very strong team,” said McGuckin.
“They had lots of big players in John Donaldson, the McEntees and Oisin McConville. A lot of those player have moved on, but Cross seem to have got stronger though. I think if you can go on and win an All-Ireland title it proves that.”
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