The holders edged their way into a decider against either Kilrea or Slaughtneil, whose game was postponed until Saturday following the death of the father of Kilrea player Kieran Óg O’Kane.
That Ballinderry are in their third straight final owes much to the performance of Raymond Wilkinson, who hit 1-2 against a Banagher team seeking to play in their first final since 1981.
The underdogs began superbly against the breeze as two terrific Mark Lynch scores had them 0-4 to 0-1 ahead midway through the half. The only inroads made by Ballinderry were through an Enda Muldoon score that left them with an uphill battle in the second-half. Muldoon’s glorious pass set up Wilkinson to round the ’keeper and find the net early in the second-half, but Banagher responded with two Mark Lynch frees. It was score for score, with Banagher thrice in front, until Gareth McKinless burst through and saw his shot deflected over to put Ballinderry ahead. Conleith Gilligan added a free and, despite a reply from Mark Lynch, the plucky Banagher was called in vain as the clock ran out on their dream.
BALLINDERRY: M Conlan; C Wilkinson, K McGuckin, R Scott; R Wilson, C Nevin, G McKinless (0-1); J Conway, E Muldoon (0-1); A Devlin, R Wilkinson (1-2), C Gilligan (0-3, 0-2f); C Devlin (0-1), R Bell, M Harney.
Subs: D McGuckin for Harney (47), J Bateson for C Devlin (49), D Conway for J Conway (51).
BANAGHER: D McDermott; M Anderson, SM Lockhart, R McCloskey; S McCullagh, R Lynch, O McCloskey (0-1); PJ McCloskey, M Lynch (0-6, 0-3f); P Cartin, C Lynch (0-1), G O’Neill (0-1); P Murphy (0-1), S Farren, E Murphy. Subs: J Lynch for C Lynch (54), S McCloskey for G O’Neill (57).
Referee: B Quinn (Ballinascreen)