Club GAA round-up: Ballybay end 10-year wait for Monaghan title

Ratoath win Meath SFC in simmering affair in Navan

Ballybay bridged a 10-year gap in Clones as they deservedly ended Scotstown’s three-in-a-row bid in the Monaghan SFC final. Ballybay, who had been perennial contenders since their last championship win in 2012, had continually fallen short against Scotstown in the latter stages in recent years, but they led for almost the entire match as they won their ninth county title by 1-11 to 1-8.

The Pearse Brothers dictated much of the first half and were full value for their three-point interval lead, which they stretched to eight by the 40-minute mark, with man of the match Dessie Ward getting the goal. Scotstown eventually found some form to kick five of the last six points and leave Ballybay nerves jangling, but that late charge wasn’t enough in their 10th consecutive final.

Ratoath manager David Brady was sent crashing to the ground before being red carded as a simmering Meath SFC final came to the boil late on in Navan. Points from top scorer Daithi McGowan, an of the match Jack Flynn and the terrific Eamonn Wallace in the closing stages ultimately secured Ratoath’s third title in four seasons, defeating Summerhill 0-12 to 0-11.

Those scores opened up a three-point gap and allowed them to absorb stoppage time scores from Summerhill’s Eoghan Frayne and Eamonn McDonnell.

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But the on-field action was overtaken by an unlikely late row which ended with both Mayo great Brady and Summerhill manager Conor Gillespie being shown red cards.

It began when a free was awarded against Ratoath for a high challenge by Wallace, prompting Gillespie to run on to the field in an apparent attempt to get play restarted.

Former Meath midfielder Gillespie said he thought that Brady had given him a dunt in the back so he responded by barging the big Ballina man to the ground.

“To be fair, the fault for that lies on my behalf, I misinterpreted the situation and reacted in a poor way and paid the price,” said Gillespie. The pair later shook hands.

In Cavan, Gowna used the rapier rather the smotherer’s pillow to deny Killygarry a first-ever blue riband title after a thrilling SFC final at Kingspan Breffni Park.

In making honest men of the local turf accountants, Gowna put in an impressive display, winning 2-13 to 1-9 and dominating the final three quarters to reclaim the Oliver Plunkett Cup they last won in 2002.

Ryan Donohoe’s soccer-style goal gave the red-and-green brigade the short of start Killygarry must have yearned for but Martin Reilly’s excellently lobbed goal (24) hoisted the underdogs on to level terms, 1-3 apiece. Gowna finished the first half with a flourish though and unanswered points from Robbie Fitzpatrick, TJ Fitzpatrick and Conor Brady left Killygarry with a hill to climb at the start of the second half.

Killygarry’s goose was well and truly cooked in the 57th minute when sub Oisín Pierson finished the scoring by netting after a sleek four-man move.

Castletown produced a dominant second-half performance and pulled off a huge shock when they fashioned a deserved four-point victory over reigning champions Shelmaliers, 0-13 to 0-9, in a dramatic Wexford senior football championship final at Chadwicks Wexford Park yesterday afternoon.

Shelmaliers will look back on their opening half when despite a dominance of possession they failed to translate this into sufficient scores and this wasteful period, despite a two point interval lead, came back to haunt them as Castletown took total command of the second 30 minutes.

Castletown received a blow in the lead up to the game when star attacker Ben Brosnan, straight red carded in the semi-final, failed with two appeals, but instead of sitting back they used the setback to their advantage with a controlled and excellent second period.

In Tipperary, Clonmel Commercials had little difficulty in winning their third Tipperary senior football title in four years as they comfortably saw off the challenge of Upperchurch-Drombane at Semple Stadium, winning on a scoreline of 1-10 to 1-2.

It was Upperchurch’s first time reaching the final and it all ended very quickly. Padraic Looram’s goal for Commercials after 13 scoreless minutes, kick-started a Commercials surge that yielded eight points in the next eleven minutes, as they established a 1-8 to 0-1 lead by half-time.

Upperchurch did better in the second half without ever threatening to reel in their opponents. Commercials had Ross Peters sidelined with a second yellow card after 51 minutes, and the quickly-taken Upperchurch free saw Jack Butler blast home their goal. Commercials had Peter McGarry black-carded in injury time but by then their 20th title was secured and safe.

Four points off the bench from half-time substitute Ronan Carroll saw Ardee St. Mary’s over the line against Newtown Blues in the Louth SFC final replay at Dowdallshill. The 1-18 to 1-15 win for Newtown saw the Deesiders end a 27-year wait to land the Joe Ward Cup.

As it turned out, Carroll’s scores were worth their weight in gold as the Blues would make the winners live on their nerves with a rallying last few minutes that saw the Drogheda side reduce the gap to two.

Emmet Carolan rebounded home a penalty deep into injury time and with the pressure mounting, Mary’s goalkeeper James McGillick had to make a jaw dropping save to deny Dáire Nally.

Like last week the Blues had to overcome a dreadful start when they conceded a goal in the opening passage of play through Ciarán Keenan to lead at half time. However, Andy McDonnell’s and Colm Judge’s will would not be enough as Carroll and Ardee would not be denied.

Meanwhile in the Antrim SHC final Dunloy held their nerve to find the late scores, including a goal from Chrissy McMahon, as they made it four Antrim SHC titles on the spin at the expense of Cushendall at Corrigan Park, 1-20 to 2-11.

Cushendall pushed them all the way and got off to a dream start with Cormac McClafferty sweeping to the net after just 20 seconds. Indeed Cushendall led by two 10 minutes to the second half, but they began to lose their way in attack with the wides stacking up and went scoreless for 10 minutes but which time Dunloy had moved three clear.

There was just two in it before the game swung on a huge moment in stoppage time as Fergus McCambridge gathered from a loose ball and shot at goal but Phelim Duffin cleared off the line. Dunloy went upfield and Keelan Molloy pointed, and then McMahon found some space in attack to race home and rattle the net to seal victory.