GAA Football

Slaughtneil put Lavey defeat behind them with comprehensive win over Swatragh in Derry SFC

FROM MICHAEL McMULLAN AT DAVITT PARK

O'Neills Derry SFC Group C: Slaughtneil Robert Emmet's 2-12 Michael Davitt's, Swatragh 1-4

A POWERFUL third quarter display from reigning champions Slaughtneil saw them on their way to an 11-point win in Saturday's derby at Davitt Park.

The winning margin ensured Paul Bradley's side finished in second spot in the group and put their defeat Lavey to the back of their mind.

“I think after last week, we were in no position to talk about the scoreline,” commented ace forward Shane McGuigan.

“We were focusing on performance, that's all we asked for because last week's performance (against Lavey) would not do come the latter stages.”

McGuigan's 38th minute goal, from the rebound of his penalty which was saved by Sean McNicholl, put Slaughtneil 2-4 to 1-4 ahead.

The home side responded instantly with a goal in the next attack with an unmarked Cahal Murray palming to the net at the far post, but it was their last score of the game as Slaughtneil cut loose to hit eight unanswered points.

“We knew the challenge ahead of us, but the disappointing thing was how we allowed the game to get away from ourselves,” said Swatragh manager Kevin Madden after the game.

“If you go out and try to attack Slaughtneil and you give the ball away on the attack, there is no better team for hurting you on the counter-attack. That period between half-time and the second water break, I think they really showed their class.”

The 'spark' Paul Bradley was looking for in the Lavey game was on show and Slaughtneil had a greater degree of urgency from the off.

Chrissy McKaigue started at midfield on Oisin McWilliams, with Padraig Cassidy and Patsy Bradley taking turns to play at centre-back.

The Davitt's played Michael Friel inside with Francis Kearney and the lively Fintan McGurk. On their tighter training pitch, due their main pitching being resurfaced, Swatragh boxed Slaughtneil in on their kick-outs and were able to secure possession from all but two of Sean McNicholl's restarts.

Shane McGuigan (2) and Christopher Bradley had the Emmet's 0-3 to 0-1 after the first water break.

The game opened up after black cards for Chrissy McKaigue and Diarmuid Dillon made it a 14-a-side game.

Then Brendan Rogers and Padraig Cassidy cut through the Swatragh defence, leading to Meehaul McGrath's goal, a cool finish in the crowded penalty area.

Sean Francis Quinn and Fintan McGurk replied with points for Swatragh, who then had a Francis Kearney goal chance blocked by Brendan Rogers. They also hit four wides and dropped two efforts short in the spell they had Slaughtneil pegged back.

Swatragh tailed 1-3 to 0-3 at the interval, but didn't have enough support for Oisin McWilliams who was hurting Slaughtneil through the centre as McGurk and Murray began to stretch them.

Francis Kearney and Christopher Bradley traded points early in the first-half before McGuigan's goal was cancelled out by Murray's 30 seconds later.

Slaughtneil began to get more joy with their short kick-outs to control the game. Oisin McWilliams was the moved into full-forward alongside his twin brother Lorcan, but Brendan Rogers made two great interceptions to further fuel Slaughtneil's momentum.

As the game went on, the Emmet's got stronger and Shane McGuigan paid tribute to the management's substitutions.

“Sé (McGuigan), Pouly (Ronan Bradley) and a few other boys (Francis McEldowney and Fionnbharr McGuigan) came on and they chipped away at the scoreboard,” McGuigan said.

“So there are a lot of positions up for grabs and it is good we are in this predicament at this stage of the year.”

Slaughtneil: A McMullan; P Kearney, K McKaigue, B Rogers (0-1); S Ó Caiside, P Cassidy, K Feeney; P Bradley, C McKaigue; S Cassidy, C O'Doherty, M McGrath (1-0); C Bradley (0-4, 0-1 frees); Shane McGuigan (1-6, 0-1 free), B Cassidy

Subs: F McGuigan for S Ó Caiside (14), Sé McGuigan (0-1) for B Cassidy (40), F McEldowney for P Kearney (43), R Bradley for M McGrath (50)

Black card: C McKaigue (16)

Yellow card: P Bradley (49)

Swatragh: S McNicholl; A McGuckin, D Dillon; SF Quinn (0-1); B Diamond, T Walsh, N Coyle; C McAtamney, O McWilliams; SM Quinn, C Murray (1-0), J Kearney (0-1 free); M Friel, F Kearney (0-1 free), F McGurk (0-1)

Subs: L McWilliams for J Kearney (40), P Turner for B Diamond (45), L Kearney for N Coyle (50), N McAtamney for C Murray (51)

Black card: D Dillon (19)

Yellow cards: M Friel (8), O McWilliams (58)

Referee: B Cassidy (Bellaghy)

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