Ballela crowned Ulster Hurling League champions

BALLELA (DOWN) 4-15

AODH RUADH (DONEGAL) 0-10

Team work they say is a co-operative or coordinated effect on the part of a group of players acting together and that’s exactly what this performance involved after a hard fought win against Aodh Ruadh.

Ballela senior hurlers turned in a great second half to defeat a very strong Aodh Ruadh side which included five county players.

Ballela found the first half tough going playing against the wind and a very hard hitting Aodh Ruadh team. However, it was a brace of goals with 15 minutes left from Ryan McCusker and Peter Doyle that decided the issue.

Aodh Ruadh squandered a couple of early chances before county star Malaghy Magee slotted over two points from frees. Midfield was becoming a real battle with Ballela’s skilful Dan Doran and county minor Ryan McCusker holding their own against a very good Aodh Ruadh partnership. Gary Mc Mullan is having a great season between the posts and he picked out Kel Magee to set up brother Malaghy for Ballela’s first goal.

But Aodh Ruadh soon hit back with four points on the trot showing Ballela they were not going to get it all their own way. A great fielded ball by Donal Mc Cann was laid off to the in-rushing Kel Magee to slot over. A long ball in from Stephen McCusker was flicked on by Rory MPolin and Peter Doyle kicked over the bar, before Jonathan Mc Cusker slotted over two long range frees.

HT: Ballela 1-7 Aodh Ruadh 0-6.

Ballela introduced ex County player Dan McCusker and he demonstrated exquisite skill to flick the ball over the bar but Aodh Ruadh fought back with two long range points to cut the lead back to three points. Young Adam Harrision, who is having a fantastic season in his half back roll, won procession he fed Dan Doran whose delightful pass put Malaghy Magee through and he made no mistake from close range.

Ballela were now in full flow as first Kel Magee 0-2, Dan Mc Cusker 0-2, Jonathan Mc Cusker 0-2 and Ryan Mc Cusker 0-1 all knocked over points. Aodh Ruadh did manage two points from frees but as good teams do, Ballela kept pushing forward. A long ball in from Mark Cosgrave was flicked to the net by Peter Doyle at this stage Ballela ran their bench off and you could see the subs were sharp as well. Doran provided the final assist for his midfield partner Ryan McCusker to hit a goal and seal Ballela a 17 point win and the Ulster title.

The manager Martin McCusker and players were delighted with this win and with Ballela opting out of the Down League and joining Ulster you could see this brought the team on with a much better standard of hurling.

TEAM: G Mc Mullan, R Mc Conville, M Doyle, N Burns, A Harrision, J Mc Cusker (capt 0-4) S Mc Cusker, D Doran, R Mc Cusker(1-1), M Cosgrave, R Mc Polin, D Mc Cann, K Magee (0-3), M Magee(2-3), P Doyle (1-1) D Mc Cusker (0-3) J Mc Parland, D kearns, N Burns, G Burns, N Corry.