By Shaun Casey
Crossmaglen 1-8 Ballybay 2-11
A HUGE second half from Ballybay saw them overcome Crossmaglen in the first round of the Ulster Championship.
The Rangers picked up a black card just before the break and began the second period with 14 men.
With the wind at their backs, Ballybay made hay and dominated the third quarter, outscoring their opponents 1-7 to 0-1.
Jerome Johnston’s side made a dream start when Shane McGuinness slotted home from the penalty spot after Dessie Ward had been upended.
Cross grabbed a goal of their own with an outstanding effort from Rian O’Neill and the Rangers marched into a 1-4 to 1-1 lead.
Ballybay narrowed the gap by the interval to one point (1-5 to 1-4) and took over after the turnaround, with Dessie Ward truly inspirational.
Ward knocked over the first score of the second half before Shane McGuinness set up his sides second goal when he played through Aaron Toner who palmed the ball to the back of the net.
The Monaghan champions kept the scoreboard ticking over with veteran Paul Finlay and the McGuinness brothers, Christopher and Shane raising white flags
Cross responded with late scores from Cian McConville, O’Neill and Ronan Fitzpatrick, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in the game.
Ballybay advance to the quarter finals of the Ulster Championship and will take on All-Ireland champions Kilcoo next weekend.
Ballybay scorers: Shane McGuinness 1-2 (1 penalty), Paul Finlay 0-4 (3f), Aaron Toner 1-0, Dessie Ward 0-2, Drew Wylie 0-1, Thomas Kerr 0-1, Christopher McGuinness 0-1.
Crossmaglen scorers: Rian O’Neill 1-1, Cian McConville 0-3 (2f), Ronan Fitzpatrick 0-2, Caolan Finnegan 0-2, Jamie Clarke 0-1