Slaughtneil must wait to find out who they face in Ulster final after Derrygonnelly and Cavan Gaels draw at Clones
Reigning champions Slaughtneil advanced to the Ulster Club Senior Football Championship final with six points to spare over a very impressive Kilcar side after a tough battle at Healy Park in Omagh on Saturday night.
But Slaughtneil, who defeated Kilcoo in the previous round, will have to wait until next weekend to find out who they face in the final.
Today's second semi-final featuring Cavan Gaels and Derrygonnelly Harps ended in a 0-12 to 0-12 draw after extra-time at Clones.
Derrygonnelly were aiming to become the first Erne side to make the Ulster Club final since 2002,
Two goals were the difference on Saturday night in a final score of Slaughtneil 2-17 Kilcar 0-17, with a wasteful Donegal side missing some good goal chances in the game.
Se McGuigan and Christopher Bradley were the Slaughtneil scorers.
Kilcar created five clear goal chances but couldn't convert one.
But it wasn't all down to poor Kilcar finishing with Antoin McMullan in the Slaughtneil goal in outstanding form, pulling off two terrific saves, one in each half.
Slaughtneil: Antoin McMullan: Paul McNeill, Brendan Rogers, Karl McKaigue; Francis McEldowney, Christopher McKaigue, Keelan Feeney; Patsy Bradley, Padraig Cassidy; Ronan Bradley, Shane McGuigan, Meehaul McGrath; Christopher Bradley, Se McGuigan, Cormac O'Doherty.
Subs: Brian Cassidy for C O'Doherty 32; Barry McGuigan for P Bradley 60
Kilcar: Eamonn McGinley; Barry McGinley, Conor McShane, Pauric Carr; Ryan McHugh, Michael Hegarty, Barry Shovlin; Ciaran McGinley, Mark McHugh; Stephen McBrearty, Eoin McHugh, Conor Doherty; Andrew McClean, Patrick McBrearty, Stephen Shovlin.
Subs: Matthew McClean for S McBrearty 41; Mark Sweeney for C McGinley 43; Brian O'Donnell for C McShane 60
Slaughtneil: Christopher Bradley 1-5,f,45; Shane McGuigan 1-3,1f; Cormac O'Doherty 0-2 Brian Cassidy 0-2; Meehaul McGrath 0-2; Karl McKaigue, Christopher McKaigue, Padraig Cassidy 0-1 each.
Kilcar: Patrick McBrearty 0-10,5f; Mark McHugh, Stephen McBrearty, Andrew McClean, Barry McGinley, Ciaran McGinley, Matthew McClean and Eoin McHugh 0-1 each.
Ref: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)
Derrygonnelly Harps: D Feely; Shane McGullion, Lee Jones, M Jones; N Gallagher, E McHugh, G McGinley; R Jones, G Jones; K Cassidy, P Ward, D Cassidy; G McKenna, Leigh Jones, C Jones
Subs: Stephen McGullion for Cassidy (31), A Gallagher for Lee Jones (42), K Cassidy for Leigh Jones (51), Lee Jones for N Gallagher (63), Leigh Jones for Stephen McGullion (71), Stephen McGullion for A Gallagher (78)
Cavan Gaels: C Flynn; L Fortune, N Murray, K Meehan; S Murray, B Fortune, L Murphy; P Graham, P Maloney-Derham; N Smith, D Meehan, A Graham; P O'Connor, S Johnston, M Dunne
Subs: V Coyle for P Graham (BC, 36), S Higgins for A Graham (53), D Sexton for S Murray (BC, 60), S Fitzsimons for Smith (68), M Lyng for O'Connor (76)
Derrygonnelly Harps – P Ward 0-05 (3f), G Jones 0-02, G McKenna 0-02 (1f), R Jones, D Cassidy 0-01 each, C Jones 0-01 (f)
Cavan Gaels – M Dunne 0-04 (2f), L Murphy 0-02, N Smith, D Meehan, A Graham, P O'Connor, D Sexton 0-01 each, S Johnson 0-01 (f)
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)
PREVIEW PIECE by Sean O'Neill
SLAUGHTNEIL Robert Emmett’s as a club are the envy of Ulster and beyond.
Not only do they possess the necessary quality to win Derry, Ulster and All-Ireland championships at three codes, they also now have a vast bank of experience and know-how to draw upon which makes them the most formidable of opponents.
Many people fancied Omagh St Enda’s to get the better of them in their quarter-final clash.
After all, the Tyrone club ran them very close in the Ulster final only a couple of seasons ago in a memorable and brilliant game of football.
But as in that decider clash, the Derry men again came out on the right side of a nip and tuck affair.
The only hope therefore that opponents appear to have is that Slaughtneil will eventually run out of steam, that their players will go to the well too often and will come unstuck against fresher, hungrier rivals.
I put this to their assistant manager John Joe Kearney ahead of their semi-final encounter with Donegal top guns Kilcar, a team laced with quality and sure to be motivated to the hilt.
Just how do you keep a bunch of footballers at concert pitch, year after year?
“They’re a great bunch of lads, and there’s great enthusiasm there,” said Kearney.
“And I suppose the fact that you’re successful and winning gives you an impetus as well.
“The fact that we have the dual players is even more of a concern - to us and to a lot of clubs - how the hell do you do it?
“But, we’ve been fit to manage it so far. As I say, they’re a great bunch of lads.
“Anton McMullan and the two McKaigues - any night that there’s training on – they’re there 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour before we’re ready to start, religiously”.
Not all clubs, even winning ones, possess that type of voracious appetite to keep putting their shoulder to the wheel.
Another key to their phenomenal success is the trust that is so very obviously placed in the players by Mickey Moran and John Joe Kearney.
All games take on a life of their own, and there is only so much a management team can do to prepare a side for what they will face in championship football.
The very best teams are all capable of managing, better than most, what will be thrown at them during 60 plus minutes of feverish action.
“Once the game starts, look – it is up to the players,” insisted Kearney.
“There is damn all you can do along the line. Even any guidance you try to give them, they generally don’t hear you because of the atmosphere.
“So once they go on the pitch, it’s up to them. They’re the men”.
The Slaughtneil footballers are the full package.
Talent, desire, experience and a management team with utter, quiet confidence in their ability to come up with the goods when the heat is at its fiercest.
We all should admire them, when we have them.