Down SHC final: Coulter stars as Ballygalget hold firm to retain crown
Ballygalget 2-13 Portaferry 2-12
Ballygalget survived a tense finale to retain their Down hurling title yesterday. As had been the case in the first round of this most competitive of championships, just a single point separated these teams at the final whistle.
Both teams played with two men in their inside forward lines which meant the centre of the field was congested throughout and meant there was little fluent hurling. However, when the ball was delivered it allowed Cormac Coulter for Ballygalget and Daithi Sands for Portaferry to show their attacking skills.
Both young players finished with 2-3 and Coulter with the man of the match award. The move of Brook Byers to mark Sands came just in time to nullify his threat although Portaferry's inaccuracy in the final quarter was what cost them dear at the end.
The first half was a dogged affair that ended at 1-6 apiece. Sands had the opening point of the second half for Portaferry and his goal to put Portaferry 2-8 to 1-9 ahead forced the move that was so influential to the outcome.
Jordan Doran was introduced for Ballygalget which freed Byers to mark Sands and critically Sands wouldn't score in the last quarter.
On 49 minutes, Coulter goaled to put his side 2-11 to 2-8 ahead. Ballygalget would only score two more points, but try as they might Portaferry just couldn't close the gap to less than two points with a last-gasp '65 sailing over the bar instead of into the crowded goalmouth.
Scorers - Ballygalget: C Coulter 2-3, G Johnston 0-6 (4f), G Roddy 0-2, E Clarke 0-1, C Bailie 0-1. Portaferry: D Sands 2-3; P Braniff 0-6 (4f), K McGarry 0-1, A O'Prey 0-1, K Keating 0-1 '65.
Ballygalget - J Crowe; B Byers, E Clarke, J Smyth; E Coulter, B Toner, P McManus; G Roddy, C Bailie; J McManus, D McManus, M Fisher; C Coulter, G Johnston, D Toner. Subs: J Doran for Smyth (41)
Portaferry - K Keating; N White, C O'Neill, D Mallon; C O'Prey, C Fay, K McGarry; J Gilmore, A Savage; D Coffey, C Taggart, B Trainor; Daithi Sands, E Sands, P Braniff. Subs: J Convery for Taggart (22); A O'Prey for Fay (h-t); E O'Neill for Mallon (53).
Ref - C Murray (Darragh Cross)