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Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 16:59 GMT
Ballinderry charge to final
Rathnew's Damien Power (No 4) sits it out on Ballinderry's Declan Bateson
Rathnew's Damien Power sits it out on Declan Bateson
AIB All-Ireland Club semi-final:
Ballinderry 1-9 0-7 Rathnew

Ballinderry surged to their first All-Ireland final with a gritty and fully-deserved victory over Wicklow champions Rathnew on Sunday.

In atrocious weather and surface conditions, the Derry side completely outplayed their opponenets who at times were at a loss in the muddy conditions at Pearse Park in Longford.

Indeed the conditions were so bad that Ballinderry officials had strongly objected to the game going ahead.

However, it was the Shamrocks proved to be real mudlarks as they took early control of the game and never relinquished their grip.

Controlled game

Conleth Gilligan was the ace marksman as he banged in a penalty in the opening minutes, and then fired over his side's first three points.

But it was that man Enda Muldoon who emerged as the star of the show.

He did not get his name on the scoresheet, but he did not have to, as he controlled the game with some great handling and forceful play.

Skipper Adrian McGuckin knew that to have any chance of winning, Ballinderry needed to subdue Rathnew's duo of Tommy Gill and Ronan Coffey.

Conleth Gilligan has developed into Ballinderry's playmaker
Conleth Gilligan was in hot form in Longford

That they did. Gill was very ineffective particularly in missing three easy points which could have given his side a fillip when under early pressure.

But Gilligan's goal after he was tripped by goalkeeper Tommy Murphy, was the perfect boost for the Shamrocks.

Ger Cassidy, another who performed brilliantly under exacting conditions, landed two points while Gill and Trevor Doyle brought Rathnew back into the game on the run-up to the break.

But with the half-time score at 1-5 to 0-4, there was no apparent way back for Rathnew.

Gilligan smacked the crossbar on the restart from a 45-metre free, and then Murphy brought off a brilliant save from Cassidy to stop a certain goal.

The Shamrocks never released their grip on the game with Cassidy and Gill collecting a couple of points apiece as the boys from Derry finally created a bit of history.

Ballinderry: M Conlon; K McGuckin, N McCusker, J Bell; P Wilson, R McGuckin, D Crozier; S Donnelly, E Muldoon; B McOscar, C Gilligan, D Conway; D Bateson, A McGuckin, G Cassidy.

Rathnew: T Murphy; B Mernagh, M Coffey, D Power; E Franey, T Doyle, S Byrne; D Coffey, D Byrne; L Glynn, T Gill, A Mernagh; K Gill, R Coffey, M Doyle.

Ballinderry's Conleth Gilligan
''We did not want to go ahead with the game''
See also:

17 Jan 02 |  Northern Ireland
Ballinderry rivals lose player
26 Nov 01 |  Northern Ireland
McGuckin plays captain's part
25 Nov 01 |  Northern Ireland
Ballinderry bridge 20-year gap
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