Thursday 22 February 2018

McGuigan's knockout blow seals four in a row

Slaughtneil 4-12 Ballinascreen 1-11  Derry SFC final

The Slaughtneil players celebrate after their victory over Ballinascreen in the Derry SFC final. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
The Slaughtneil players celebrate after their victory over Ballinascreen in the Derry SFC final. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Shane McGuigan scored 2-4 as Slaughtneil defeated Ballinascreen by 10 points at Celtic Park to claim the title for the fourth time in a row yesterday.

The Emmets raced into a 0-4 to nil lead with six minutes on the clock. Padraig Cassidy, Shane McGuigan, Sé McGuigan and, with the outside of the boot, Christopher Bradley all converted scores as the holders threw down the gauntlet to a side that had not lifted the John McLaughlin Cup since 1973.

However, rather than wilt in the late September sunshine, Ballinascreen burst into life, as county star Benny Heron - who was covering every blade of grass - bravely took the fight to the champions.

Indeed, St Colm's hit four of the next five scores through Shane Mulgrew, Ronan Murphy, Phillip Bradley and the impressive Brendan Herron.

Unfortunately for the underdogs, that run of scoring was punctuated by a Chrissy McKaigue goal, set up by fellow defender Brendan Rogers' rampaging burst forward.

Slaughtneil then took a firm grip on the proceedings in the second quarter of the game, with two 'Sammy' Bradley points sandwiching a 21st-minute Shane McGuigan goal which rocketed into the top left-hand corner of Niall McGlade's net.

Slaughtneil's Padraig Cassidy wins the ball ahead of Antoin Kelly and Phillip Bradley of Ballinascreen. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Slaughtneil's Padraig Cassidy wins the ball ahead of Antoin Kelly and Phillip Bradley of Ballinascreen. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Trailing 2-6 to 0-5, Ballinascreen once again battled back and again it was their talisman Heron who led the way, launching a monster point soon after Brendan Herron, also playing well, scored his second.

Stretched

However, Slaughtneil, as they usually do, had the last word.

Shane McGuigan (1-2 for the half) and Meehaul McGrath both pointed at the fag end of the half to see their side seven ahead at the break, leading 2-8 to 0-7.

Cormac O'Doherty offloads a pass under pressure from Michael McShane and Dermot McBride. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Cormac O'Doherty offloads a pass under pressure from Michael McShane and Dermot McBride. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

That lead had stretched to 11 points early in the second-half, with Keelan Feeney's 31st-minute goal all but confirming a Slaughtneil victory.

Beaten, but unbowed, Ballinascreen continued to fight, with Anton Kelly hitting his side's only goal of the game, palming home in the 39th minute.

However, Slaughtneil countered that immediately and when Shane McGuigan slotted home his second goal, and Slaughtneil's fourth, it firmly nailed the coffin shut on Liam Donnelly's side.

The remainder of the game saw Slaughtneil do what Slaughtneil do best - play 'keep ball' and frustrate their beaten opponents.

Ballinascreen did manage to score some late points through the hard-working Phillip Bradley (shortly before his 58th-minute dismissal) and a late brace from free-taker Shane Mulgrew.

Benny Heron drives forward for Ballinascreen. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Benny Heron drives forward for Ballinascreen. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

The holders were also afforded the luxury of missing an injury-time penalty when Niall McGlade dived low to his right to thwart Sammy Bradley.

Scorers- Slaughtneil: Shane McGuigan 2-4 (1f), C McKaigue 1-0, K Feeney 1-0, C Bradley 0-3, P Cassidy, Sé McGuigan, M McGrath, R Bradley, P Bradley (1f) 0-1 each

Ballinascreen: S Mulgrew 0-4f, A Kelly 1-0, Brendan Herron, P Bradley 0-2 each, R Murphy, Benny Heron, B Grant 0-1 each

Slaughtneil: A McMullan, P McNeill, B Rogers, K McKaigue, F McEldowney, C McKaigue, K Feeney, Py Bradley, P Cassidy, C O'Doherty, Pl Bradley, M McGrath, Sh McGuigan, Se McGuigan, C Bradley. Subs: R Bradley for C O'Doherty (50), B McGuigan for F McEldowney (51), P McGuigan for Py Bradley (53)

Se McGuigan commiserates with Ballinascreen's Carlus McWilliams after the game. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Se McGuigan commiserates with Ballinascreen's Carlus McWilliams after the game. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Ballinascreen: N McGlade, P McGlade, D McBride, E Gilmore, K Conway, M McShane, P Bradley, P Burns, A Kelly, C McWilliams, S Mulgrew, B Herron, B Heron, R Murphy, B Grant. Subs: M McBride for P Burns (26), M Bradley for E Gilmore (26), G Conway for R Murphy (50), JP Devlin for A Kelly (53)

Ref - D Mullan (Glenullin)

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