Chrissy McKaigue inspires Slaughtneil to stunning All Ireland semi-final win over Vincent's
SLAUGHTNEIL 0-12 ST VINCENT'S 0-10
Chrissy McKaigue inspired Slaughtneil to a stunning win over a fancied St Vincent's to reach the AIB All-Ireland club football final for the second time in three years.
Of all the victories they've managed in hurling and football in the last three years, this was perhaps Slaughtneil's finest moment.
An upset, yes, but also a thoroughly deserved victory for the Derry club, who played as a team with a collective spirit and hunger that left the Dublin champions trailing in their wake in Paric Esler.
Their inspiration was undoubtedly McKaigue, who marked Diarmuid Connolly for most of the game and outscored him by four points to one, including three monster scores in the second half with the wind.
St Vincent's lost their discipline in the last quarter with black cards for Brendan Egan and Cormac Diamond, while Connolly and Ger Brennan were also booked in that spell.
Connolly had spells at full-forward against Brendan Rodgers but mostly at centre half forward against Chrissy McKaigue.
He found both to be tough customers, and most of the scoring damage in the opening half was done by Mayo's Enda Varley who scored two points from play and converted two frees.
Christopher Bradley scored the opening point for Slaughtneil after four minutes but Vincents had a good first quarter and led by 0-3 to 0-1, with Nathan Mullins and Connolly scoring from play.
The Dublin champions got a lot of men behind the ball forcing Slaughtneil to shoot from distance, which they did with mixed success.
Five first-half wides and Paul Bradley's poor 25m free which dropped short were tempered with Christopher Bradley's tremendous left-footed point to tie the scores at five points each.
Varley dropped the shoulder and his left-footed point edged Vincent's back in front, 0-6 to 0-5, at the break.
Slaughtneil outscored St Vincent's by five points to one in a 13 minute spell after the interval, McKaigue with two points and Christopher Bradley and Shane McGuigan also finding their range.
Vincent's go-to men were being bottled up by Slaughtneil's well-drilled defence but Gavin Burke found the space and accuracy to score twice with his left foot.
Vincent's carved out the game's only goal chance with Shane Carthy flicking the ball towards goal but goalkeeper Anton McMullan dived to his left to turn the ball round the post.
Varley pointed his only score of the second half but Vincent's couldn't get back on level terms and Slaughtneil confidently played out the clock to book a place in the St Patrick's Day decider.
SLAUGHTNEIL: A McMullan; F McEldowney, B Rodgers, K McKaigue; P McNeill, C McKaigue (0-4), K Feeney; Patsy Bradley, P Cassidy; Shane McGuigan (0-3, 2f), Paul Bradley (0-2, 2f), M McGrath; C Bradley (0-3), Se McGuigan, C O'Doherty
Subs: R Bradley for Se McGuigan (54), B McGuigan for K McKaigue (BC, 64)
ST VINCENT'S: M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, C Wilson; B Egan, G Brennan, Cameron Diamond; N Mullins (0-1), S Carthy (0-1); G Burke (0-2), D Connolly (0-1), Cormac Diamond; R Trainor, E Varley (0-5, 2f), T Quinn
Subs: A Martin for Trainor (46), J Feeney for Cormac Diamond (BC, 61), K Golden for Cameron Diamond (67), F Breathnach for Mullins (58), S McCusker for Egan (BC, 62)
REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)