IT was all about looking forward for Slaughtneil after being hit for two goals in Sunday’s Derry showdown with Lavey, insisted manager Paul Bradley.
After a controlled opening spell, Slaughtneil were opened up by two kick passes. First, Matthew Downey’s ball led to a flicked Eamon McGill goal. Brendan Rogers replied with a point, but Jamie Duggan found Niall Toner one on one with Paul McNeill and the Derry star put Lavey 2-2 to 0-4 ahead.
The Emmet’s hit the next three scores to drag themselves back in control of the game by half-time.
“It’s gone,” Bradley told his side at the break. “Once they are in the back of the net, there is no point in dwelling on them.”
Chrissy McKaigue started the game picking up Enda Downey, but the Slaughtneil’s management felt he was being pulled out to expose the space in front of Toner.
“It wasn’t where we wanted him (McKaigue) to be, so we rejigged it a bit before half-time and when we got him back sitting in front [of Niall Toner] we were so much tighter,” Bradley outlined.
Of the three points to get Slaughtneil back in business, two came from Keelan Feeney assists in an all-action performance that saw him involved in half of his side’s points.
“The thing about Feeney is that he is a championship player,” Bradley said of his former teammate.
“If you go through your notebooks down the years and you’ll never have any five out of tens from Feeney come the championship.”
The third quarter of Sunday’s clash was patience personified. Every ball was handled with kid gloves.
With the sides level, Lavey kept possession for two a half minutes, with Slaughtneil camped back, before Hugh McGurk was blown for two long.
Slaughtneil worked the ball from the free and found more space before Ruairi Ó Mianáin, in his third knock-out game, landed an inspirational point within a minute.
“That’s courage,” his manager said. “He is one boy that has that in this locker. You try and preach that to all of them, if they find themselves around that range to have the courage to go for it.
“If you over play it…the way football is played at the minute, you get swarmed. Shane (McGuigan) and Sammy (Christopher Bradley) are always going to be double marked and swarmed.
“It is just trying to get a spread and it was great to see him getting it.”
The Emmet’s manager also praised his cousin Patsy who kicked Slaughtneil into a 54th minute lead they never lost.
“What a man…he doesn’t need me to say too many superlatives about him,” he said.
“He was right out in front of us. Brendan was coming and we were urging him to break the line. They are doubling up on Brendan and Shane, but it great that we have other men to break the lines.”
While there was a slice of luck in Christopher Bradley’s goal, after nipping in to intercept a Lavey kick-out, his manager gave him the credit for applying the lobbed finish.
“That put us four ahead, but Lavey are a goal-hungry team and dropped a few in around the square and it’s a lottery, they can go anywhere.”