Ballycastle (Antrim) were handed a second chance of winning the Ulster hurling title following this intriguing draw with Ballygalget (Down) in the final in Belfast yesterday.
The Antrim champions, favourites, never settled at Corrigan Park. Ballygalget were more precise in front of goal and goalkeeper Graham Clarke was outstanding. He recorded three superb saves in the first half to maintain Ballygalget's interval lead of 1-6 to 1-3.
Immediately after the re-start, Down senior star Johnny McGrattan claimed two points without reply, allowing Ballygalget to steal into a 18 to 1-3 advantage.
A tactical move which promoted corner back Malachy Dallas to left hand forward, saw the player score two outstanding goals. Dallas volleyed the sliotar past Clarke and off the underside of the bar to level the sides at 2-7 to 1-10 after 42 minutes; he then gave his side the lead with a first-time shot which met Brian Donnelly's hand-pass. Barry and Martin Coulter (Snr) levelled the scores with points but Coulter (Snr), the man of the match, missed a 50-yard free to win the game.
Ballycastle: D Donnelly, M Dallas (2-0), O Colgan, C Kelly, P Jennings, (capt) T Kinney, R Donnelly, P McKillen (1-4), B Hill (0-1), G Maybin, A Campbell K Kelly, M McShane, (0-1), B Don- nelly (0-1), N Jennings.
Ballygalget: G Clarke, L Clarke, K Coulter, E Dorrian, M Coulter (Snr, 0-2), P Coulter (capt), M Pucci, B McGrattan, P Monan, B Gallagher, B Coulter (0-4), B Smyth, M Coulter (Jnr), J McGrattan (0-4), P Savage (1-0)
Referee: G. Devlin (Armagh)