Tuesday 23 January 2018

Slaughtneil angry after extra-time heartbreak

Cushendall 1-24 Slaughtneil 3-17

Cushendall's Christy McNaughton celebrates his side's victory
Cushendall's Christy McNaughton celebrates his side's victory
Slaughtneil's Brendan Rodgers looks dejected at full time
Slaughtneil's Brian Cassidy in action against David Kearney
Cushendall's Donal McNaughton tries to evade Slaughtneil's Karl McKaigue

Orla Bannon

Hopes of an unprecedented Ulster club double for Slaughtneil vanished in the dusk in the Athletic Grounds as Cushendall triumphed in an extra-time thriller.

The Antrim champions have come from behind in all of their championship games this season and had to do so again yesterday, staring at a 3-15 to 1-19 deficit at half-time in extra-time.

They outscored their opponents by five points to two in the second 10-minute period and dug deep to claim a tenth provincial title.

Both sides gave everything in a battle neither deserved to lose, and afterwards Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane labelled the Ulster Council's decision to play extra-time rather than fix a replay "a disgrace", claiming "it would never happen in football".

Losing after extra-time was the worst possible result for Slaughtneil's 13 dual players, who face a 14th championship game in 12 weeks against Scotstown on Sunday in an Ulster SFC tie.

Cushendall looked to be cruising to victory when they led by 0-8 to 0-3 after 27 minutes, Neil McManus hitting 0-5.

Slaughtneil hit 1-4 without reply before the break, Brendan Rodgers with a 30th-minute goal.

Gareth O'Kane buried a 37th-minute goal for Slaughtneil before Christy McNaughton's superb finish across the goal put Cushendall ahead by one again.

Brian Cassidy netted a third goal for Slaughtneil, who still needed a Cormac O'Doherty free to take the game to extra-time, with the sides level at 3-12 to 1-19.

Goalscorers Cassidy and O'Kane helped Slaughtneil lead in extra-time, but the brilliant Neil McManus was among the scorers as the game turned decisively in Cushendall's favour.

Scorers - Cushendall: N McManus 0-13 (9f); C McNaughton 1-2; K McKeegan, S McNaughton, D McNaughton 0-2 each; E Campbell, S McAfee, C Carson 0-1 each. Slaughtneil: C O'Doherty 0-9 (9f), B Rodgers 1-2 (1f), B Cassidy 1-1, G O'Kane 1-1, C McKaigue 0-2, M Kearney, O O'Doherty (f) 0-1 each.

CUSHENDALL - E Gillan; D Kearney, M Burke, A McNaughton; E Campbell, R McCambridge, S Delargy; S McNaughton, P McGill; A Graffin (capt), N McManus, D McNaughton; K McKeegan, S McAfee, C McNaughton. Subs: C Carson for Kearney (46), E Laverty for McKeegan (56), C McAlister for S McNaughton (57), A Delargy for C McNaughton (71).

SLAUGHTNEIL - O O'Doherty; M Kearney, S Cassidy, Shane McGuigan; K McKaigue, M McGrath, C McKenna; C McKaigue (capt), P McNeill; M McGuigan, C O'Doherty, G O'Kane; B Rodgers, Se McGuigan, B Cassidy. Subs: P Kearney for C McKenna (55) B Og Corbett for M Kearney (55), J Mulholland for M McGrath (60), M McGrath for O'Kane (69).

REFEREE: James Clarke (Cavan).

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