Mark Lynch, still a key player for Banagher.
Ulster Intermediate Hurling Final
Banagher v Lisbellaw at Healy Park Omagh on Saturday 8th January at 1pm
RYAN Lynch’s experienced St. Mary’s Banagher hurlers look to have at least an even chance of becoming the first Derry club team to win the Ulster intermediate hurling title.
Three years ago Lavey came close against Middletown.
The bulk of the Lisbellaw team are in the Fermanagh county squad and they have made impressive progress to reach the final. After beating the Down champions Newry Shamrock’s by 3-15 to 2-8 they turned on the style in the second half to beat Tyrone’s Carrickmore in the semi final. After a tight first half they pulled away to win comfortably by 1-17 to 0-10. Their goal in the second half came from Ciaran Corrigan.
The Fermanagh champions, who not so long ago played in the senior championship, will not have encountered such a tight defence as that of Banagher who rarely concede goals. They beat Lavey in the Derry final and got a bye to the Ulster semi final.
In that game they beat a fancied Middletown team from Armagh at Corrigan Park Belfast but lost experienced midfielder Oisin McCloskey to a straight red card after just 14 minutes but the result of Banagher’s appeal is not yet known.
A late goal from sub Pauric McCloskey clinched a 1-11 to 0-10 win for the Feeny men. They had shot into a 0-4 to nil lead when Oisin McCloskey was sent off but in truth they never looked like losing.
Apart from their experience Banagher have a physically strong team backed by a superb goalie in Darrel McDermott whose accurate pucking out is a feature of their game plan. Their defence is calm and assured. Rather than thump the sliotar out they play it short and work the attackers into good scoring positions. That said, they probably should be getting a bit more out of their attack. Late in games they have pushed midfielder Brian Og McGilligan into full forward and that has been a successful ploy.
Lisbellaw, too, are an experienced lot. They have players like Ciaran and Sean Corrigan, Richard Porteous, John Duffy and Tom Keenan who will fancy their chances of winning the Ulster title.
Nine of the Banagher team have played county hurling for Derry which is a few grades above what Fermanagh are playing.
Even through he is now in his mid thirties, that greet Banagher servant Mark Lynch is a key part of the team a left half back.
He along with Ruairi McCloskey, the Farren brothers and Darragh McCloskey have the ability to blunt the free scoring Lisbellaw attack and take the Ulster title.