All-Ireland club SFC quarter-final: Ballinderry hang on

December 15, 2013

Ballinderry's Collie Devlin beats Kingdom Kerry Gaels goalkeeper Shaun Howard to score a goal.
©INPHO/Gerry McManus.
Ballinderry (Derry) 3-9
Kingdom Kerry Gaels (London) 2-7

Ballinderry withstood a late rally by 14-man Kingdom Kerry Gaels at Ruislip to qualify for an All-Ireland club SFC semi-final meeting with St. Vincent's in the New Year.

The Ulster champions looked to be cruising to a facile victory when two goals from Collie Devlin and another from Daniel McKinless had helped them a 3-6 to 0-4 lead midway through the second half, but the home side then staged a stirring comeback which saw them reduce the deficit to just three points, 2-7 to 3-7, with five minutes remaining.

However, Ballinderry steadied themselves to score the last two points through Conor Nevin and Fintan Bell and take their place in the last four.

Conditions were very poor for a game which Martin McKinless' men had been in complete control of up until the closing stages. Favoured by a strong breeze in the first half, Ballinderry eased into a 1-5 to 0-1 interval lead with Devlin raising the first green flag after eight minutes, and Conleith Gilligan, Dermot McGuckin, Devlin and Daniel McKinless adding points.

The London champions would have been a lot closer but for some poor free-taking by former Wexford player Lloyd Colfer - who accounted for their only first half score from a free - and the sending off of full back Patrick Stack on a second yellow card.

Daniel McKinless' goal in the 36th minute extended the favourites' advantage before Devlin grabbed his second to seemingly put the result beyond doubt.

But inspired by Derry native Ciaran McCallion, the 14 men hit back with a goal from Stephen Browne. When Kyle Holland tucked away a late penalty, they were back in the game. However, Ballinderry hung on to qualify for February's semi-final against the Leinster champions.

Ballinderry - M Conlan; R Scott, C Nevin (0-1), M McInver; R Wilson, G McKinless, D Lawn; K McGuckin, J Conway; D McKinless (1-1), K M McGuckin, D McGuckin (0-1); C Devlin (2-1, 0-1f), R Bell (0-2), C Gilligan (0-2, 1f). Subs: C Wilkinson for Scott, D Conway for Wilson, P Crozier for Lawn, F Bell (0-1) for Gilligan, A Devlin for K M McGuckin.

Kingdom Kerry Gaels - S Howard; P Kelly, P Stack, C O'Neill; C Carty, P Horkan, D McGreevy; A Daly, S Browne (1-1); A Dillane (0-1), K Holland (1-1, 1-0 pen), C McCallion (0-1); N O'Connell, L Colfer (0-1f), C Deely. Subs: K Waldron for Daly, C Hands for O'Connell, T O'Sullivan (0-2f) for Colfer, A Kenny for Holland, C Griffin for Dillane.

Referee - C Lane.

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