In The Irish News on Dec 1 1996: Fiery Ulster club final ends in Crossmaglen v Bellaghy stalemate
AN abrasive and tense Ulster club final finished level as 14-man Bellaghy were pegged back by a late John McEntee equaliser in a 1-7 apiece draw with Crossmaglen.
An uncompromising battle, played in atrocious rain and wind-lashed conditions, included a red card for midfielder John Mulholland and six other cautions for a variety of indiscretions, the majority instigated by off-the-ball needle as the well-matched finalists scrambled for possession and points.
During a frantic finish Bellaghy’s bacon was pulled out of the fire by a fabulous score-saving block by Gerry McPeake.
He dived to the rescue two minutes from time, denying Cathal Short what looked every inch the match-winning chance in the making, a courageous block which denied Crossmaglen what would have been a first Ulster Championship title.
TWO goals in as many minutes just before half-time put Fermanagh on the high road to victory against Limerick in a one-sided National Football League Division Four game at Newcastle West.
Fermanagh, who meet Longford in the All-Ireland B Final next Sunday, will have benefited from the outing and they were far superior to a Limerick side that failed to score from play.
Niall Rooney and Kieran Donnelly fired home the goals to open a comfortable lead and with Rory Gallagher hitting 0-4, the Ernemen won by 2-17 to 0-4.
DANNY Ball’s first victory in charge of Tyrone could hardly have been sweeter. Putting the record straight against All-Ireland champions Meath in Omagh, every forward got on the scoresheet and the defence was as mean as it had been all winter.
The game was effectively over as a contest after only 13 minutes when Seamus McCallan buried the ball in the back of the net to help open a wind-assisted 1-10 to 0-1 half-time lead.
Meath had beaten Tyrone in the previous year’s All-Ireland semi-final but the Red Hands strengthened their position after a tough start to the League.
FUTURE Allstar Stevie McDonnell hit four points for Killeavy minors as they overcame Burren by 2-14 to 1-14 in a classic encounter in the St. Paul’s Ulster Minor football tournament.
A GOAL on the stroke of half-time proved to be the inspiration Queen’s needed as they secured their first Ryan Cup points with a comprehensive victory over city rivals St Mary’s.
The controversial score came during injury time in the first half. An Aidan Quinn free kick was lofted into the square, Ranch midfielder Alan O’Neill caught the ball under the crossbar and, when he attempted to clear his lines, was shouldered across the goalline by Terry McGivern.
Amidst Ranch protests, the umpires raised a green flag and referee Billy Reid confirmed the goal. Virtually his next act was to signal the close of the half.
Elsewhere, two goals from Ciaran Higgins and one from Sean Martin Lockhart ensured Jordanstown took both points in a 3-8 to 1-12 victory over UCD.