Ballinderry qualified for the third Derry SFC final in a row on Saturday afternoon with a narrow win over a gallant Banagher team.
The Shamrock’s were under great pressure throughout the contest and trailed Banagher for long periods before finally pulling away from the St Mary’s in the closing minutes of the contest,
Last year’s holders will find out their opponents either Kilrea or Slaughtneil this weekend after a death in the Kilrea club.
Playing into the breeze in the opening half Banagher defied their underdog status lead the eleven time Derry champions 0-4 to 0-2.
County star Mark Lynch was in fine form for the underdogs as he landed a couple of first half efforts with veteran Enda Muldoon among those on target for the Shamrocks.
The game swung minutes into the second half when Raymond Wilkinson was on hand to finish off a move that had gone the length of the field to the Banagher net, giving Ballinderry a narrow lead.
The sides exchanged points throughout the second half with county star Conleth Gilligan’s accuracy critical for the Shamrocks while Mark Lynch repeatedly kept his side in touch with four second half points.
The loughshore side finally took a decisive lead seven minutes from full time when Derry minor star Gareth McKinless put the Shamrocks two points to the good.
The St Mary’s battled valiantly to the very end of the game with Lynch closing the deficit in the dying minutes but it just wasn’t enough as Martin McKinless’s side secured a place in their third consecutive county final.
Ballinderry- M Conlon, C Wilkinson, K McGuckin, R Scott, R Wilson, C Nevin, G McKinless, J Conway, E Muldoon, A Devlin, R Wilkinson, C Gilligan, C Devlin, R Bell, M Harney.
Subs- D McGuckin for Harney, J Bateson for C Devlin, D Conway for J Conway.
Scorers- R Wilkinson 1-2, C Gilligan 0-3, C Devlin 0-1, E Muldoon 0-1, G McKinless 0-1
Banagher- D McDermott, M Anderson, SM Lockhart, R McCloskey, S McCullagh, R Lynch, O McCloskey, PJ McCloskey, P Carton, C Lynch, M Lynch, G O’Neill, P Murphy, S Farren, E Murphy
Subs- J Lynch for C Lynch, S McCloskey for G O’Neill
Scorers- M Lynch 0-6, O McCloskey 0-1, C Lynch 0-1 G O’Neill 0-1, P Murphy 0-1
Referee- Brendan Quinn (Ballinscreen)