Slaughtneil angry after extra-time heartbreak
Cushendall 1-24 Slaughtneil 3-17
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).