Canavan helps Errigal withstand late comeback


Errigal Ciarán 0-11 Ballinderry 0-10:Errigal Ciarán almost got caught by Ballinderry’s fightback at Healy Park, but survived to go through to the Ulster Club SFC semi-finals with a late Tommy Canavan free.

The Derry champions reeled off five points in the final five minutes to go level, but the Tyrone men recovered to grab victory deep into stoppage time.

Manager Ronan McGuckin is due back at training tomorrow evening after taking a leave of absence, unwilling to lead a team against his native Ballinderry.

In his absence, team trainer Tommy McDermott took on the management role, but he will revert to his former duties in preparation for a semi-final that could see Errigal come up against All-Ireland champions Crossmaglen.

Errigal Ciarán strung together a series of intricate moves to move into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead in the opening quarter.

Bryan Horisk got them going with a long-range effort, with Tommy Canavan hitting two, one from a free.

Caolan Tierney was also on target, with Ballinderry’s sole point in that spell coming from Conleith Gilligan.

But the south Derry men suddenly burst into life, hitting three points in as many minutes to draw level.

Colin Devlin, the game’s outstanding attacker, steered over two gems, one from an almost impossible angle, with Gilligan claiming his second.

Raymond Wilkinson succeeded in restricting Peter Harte’s runs from deep, but Davy Harte compensated by providing the overlaps from half back.

In the closing stages of the half, Enda Muldoon and James Conway began to get the better of the McGinley brothers, Enda and Cormac at midfield, and Devlin’s third score brought the Shamrocks level again.

It was 0-5 each at the break, but Errigal made an explosive start to the second half, hitting five points in the opening five minutes, including two each for Canavan and Horisk.

The outlook worsened for Ballinderry when corner back Conor Wilkinson picked up a second booking, but Errigal were also reduced to 14 men when corner forward Damien McDermott received a straight red card.

The Derry champions responded more positively to the dismissals, with substitutes Kevin ‘Moss’ McGuckin, Dermot McGuckin and Michael McIver making big contributions to the comeback which saw them go level.

Full back Kevin McGuckin launched a monster point, Muldoon converted a ‘45’, Dermot McGuckin swept over two scores and it was Devlin who levelled in the 59th minute.

But Canavan kept his cool to slot over a 35 metre free deep into injury-time for the winner.

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