19 October 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Ballybay’s captain finally graces the county final stage, and leads by example with an imperious performance. by COLM SHALVEY
Ballybay reached the Promised Land after 25 years when they deservedly won last Sunday’s Gormley uPVC Senior Football Championship Final against Clontibret in Clones. One of the best players in the county for so long, it took until last Sunday for Paul Finlay to play in a Senior Final, but he made the wait worth it with a trademark performance of composed football. Not only was he flawless with his free-taking, but he also won more than his fair share of possession and he once again supplied his fellow Ballybay forwards with some precision passing. Ecstatic Ballybay supporters watched Finlay climb the steps of the Gerry Arthurs Stand to first accept the Man-of-the-Match award and then lift the Mick Duffy Cup, before making an emotional tribute to his late father Kieran in his speech.
It was a real team performance by Ballybay, with all of their players able to make an argument that they at least broke even with their direct opponent. Their manager John Joe Gorman singled out Fergal McArdle for praise and with good reason, as ‘Scrub’ swept up a huge amount of breaking ball and his physicality and never-say-die attitude was important.
All three Wylies had big games in defence, particularly Ryan, who belied his youth to do a superb job of marking Conor McManus. Most expected his older brother Drew to pick up the Clontibret danger-man, but the county minor held him to a point from play and even got forward to kick the final point of the game. Meanwhile, Drew gave his usual solid performance and Brent did a fine job on Vincent Corey, who was quiet until his move into full-forward. Brian McCabe and Mark McArdle both also enjoyed good games, while Fergal Smyth slotted back in seamlessly in place of Evan Rutledge at corner-back.
Shane McQuillan and Tommy O’Neill won the midfield battle to keep the supply open to forwards like Christopher McGuinness, who kicked …

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