21 September 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Clontibret and Ballybay are counting down the days to what should be a cracking SFC Final on October 14th. by COLM SHALVEY
Two contrasting games in last Sunday’s double-header of Gormley uPVC Senior Football Championship semi-finals in Clones mean that Ballybay and Clontibret will go head-to-head in the final for the first time since 1959. Ballybay qualified for their first SFC Final since 1987 with a stunning 5-8 to 0-13 win over Latton, which was the topic of most conversations leaving St. Tiernach’s Park. Ballybay put on a superb attacking display to crush the defending champions, who had stolen a dramatic victory over their neighbours at this stage of last year’s competition. An incredible start saw the Pearse Brothers hit 2-2 in the first four points, with Paul Finlay accounting for 1-2 and Hugh Malone punching home the other goal.
A great pass from Finlay released Christopher McGuinness to race through and set up Colin Malone for goal number three on 15 minutes and Ballybay went on to lead by 3-5 to 0-4 at half-time.
It was a mark of Latton’s character that they hit six of the first seven points of the second half to close the gap to five by the end of the third quarter, but the comeback ended there. A fisted point from Tommy O’Neill settled Ballybay, who put the game beyond doubt in some style when Christopher McGuinness scored as good a goal as there has been in the Monaghan championships this year. Shane McQuillan and Brent Wylie combined to carry the ball out from the Ballybay full-back line and work it to McGuinness, who still had plenty of work to do outside the 45-metre line, but he made it look easy, speeding past Edmund Lennon and giving Seán Farmer no chance with a powerful low shot. A dream day for Ballybay got even better when Brian McCabe burst onto an incisive pass from O’Neill to fire to the top corner of the net.
Latton had only conceded five goals in their previous eight SFC games stretching back to 2010, so to see five Ballybay players rattle their net must have come as a shock. With attackers of the quality of Finlay, McGuinness, Thomas Kerr, the experienced Malones and Shane McGuinness (who was restricted to a substitute appearance due to injury), Ballybay always have a chance, particularly when their midfield compete as …

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