Ulster club SFC final: McCusker goal rescues Ballinderry
December 01, 2008
Ballinderry lived to fight another day after they hit 1-2 in the final six minutes to peg back holders Crossmaglen Rangers in an absorbing Ulster club football final which saw three players sent off at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.
Despite being reduced to 13 players, the Armagh kingpins looked to be on their way to another provincial title when Oisin McConville's coolly finished goal in the 52nd minute gave them a 1-10 to 0-8 lead. But a goal from Ballinderry full back Niall McCusker, who was used as an emergency full forward in the final quarter, means the final will need to be replayed at the same venue next Sunday.
A tempestuous affair saw three players receive their marching orders. Ballinderry's Conor Wilkinson was first to go in the 20th minute, and he was followed to the line seven minutes after the restart by Cross's Michael McNamee. But the most controversial sending off of all was that of former Armagh star John McEntee six minutes from the end after he tackled Darren Conway.
Going for a record seventh Ulster title, Crossmaglen led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break, but it scarcely reflected their dominance. They looked to be cruising when McNamee kicked two superb points early in the second half, but the same player was then dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Ballinderry closed the margin to 0-8 to 0-9 before substitute John Murtagh extended Cross's lead just before McConville's goal. But Ballinderry refused to wilt and inspired by Enda Muldoon, Colin Devlin, James Conway and McCusker, they battled back to earn another bite at the cherry.
Most Read Stories