Football

Derry SFC: Past champions Slaughtneil and Magherafelt meet while McFaul may start for Glen

Conall Heron scored two goals in Magherafelt's win over Loup last weekend           Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Conall Heron scored two goals in Magherafelt's win over Loup last weekend Picture: Margaret McLaughlin Conall Heron scored two goals in Magherafelt's win over Loup last weekend Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

SLAUGHTNEIL and Magherafelt were the last winners of the John McLaughlin Cup before Glen’s strong grasp of Derry club football’s most precious silver.

They lock horns at Rossa Park on Sunday (1.30pm) in the tie of the round with the Emmet’s having something to prove after being held to a draw last weekend at Steelstown.

New manager Mark Doran was without Derry ace Shane McGuigan who was on holidays and they’ll need a marked improvement against a Magherafelt team who ran Glen closest last season.

It was Padraig Cassidy who carried the fight in a game Steelstown could very well have won, having hands on the leather as the final whistle sounded.

Damian Barton added Richard Thornton to his backroom team this season and they’ve blooded youth to the Rossa side.

Conall Heron, Odhran Crozier and James Murray stepped up from last year’s Derry minor. Heron’s two goals helped them see off Loup last weekend with Cormac Murphy also shining.

Read more:

  • Ulster champions Glen back in the groove as Derry campaign begins 
  • Derry SFC: Wins for Bellaghy, Lavey and Ballinascreen

Kilrea were winners over Ballinderry last weekend and they welcome Steelstown on Sunday (3.30pm).

Cahair McMonagle was the man Slaughtneil couldn’t tame, but it was Steelstown’s organisation – led by sweeper/keeper Mickey McKinney - that helped them control the game.

Goals from Daithi McLaughlin and Paddy Quigg did the trick against the Shamrocks, with James Kielt among the points.

The subplot in Sunday's other Group B game (3.30pm) is Killian Conlan taking his native Ballinderry to Newbridge, a team he managed in recent seasons.

Gareth McKinless is on the injured list for Ballinderry with Paudi McGrogan – the other player replaced in Derry’s defeat to Kerry – making a scoring return in Wednesday night’s win over Loup.

Conor Doherty hit 0-6 for the ‘Bridge with younger brother Mark grabbing their goal.

Ciaran McFaul may return to the Glen starting line-up for there match with Lavey on Saturday
Ciaran McFaul may return to the Glen starting line-up for there match with Lavey on Saturday Ciaran McFaul may return to the Glen starting line-up for there match with Lavey on Saturday

In Group A, champions Glen host Lavey on Saturday, with the late throw-in (5.30pm) likely to draw a crowd.

Captain Connor Carville and Derry skipper Conor Glass missed Wednesday’s win over Dungiven.

Malachy O’Rourke may opt to start Ciaran McFaul for the first time in championship action since Glen’s 2021 defeat to Kilcoo.

Lavey put league relegation behind them to win their championship opener against Coleraine with Niall Toner and Jamie Duggan hitting a combined 0-7.

Tiarnan Flanagan missed the season after a move to Canada, but Glen have bedded in the McDermot brothers – Jody and Danny – in the absence of their county contingent during the season.

The only game on Saturday evening (7.15pm) will see the clash of league champions Bellaghy and Ballinascreen and Páirc Seán de Bruin,

Both teams were winners last weekend with ‘Screen kickstarting their disappointing season by escaping relegation in their penalty shoot-out win over Lavey.

Benny Heron in attack and Marty Bradley in the defence were the key men for Michael O’Kane’s side in victory against Swatragh.

Many of the players on view this evening have crossed paths in the 2017 minor final, won by ‘Screen, and Bellaghy’s Ulster minor winning manager of the following year, Damian Cassidy, has them ticking along nicely.

Paul Cassidy was a key cog in Derry’s back-to-back Ulster success and his return will give the Tones another vital option.

There will be jeopardy in the air at Davitt Park tomorrow (3.30pm) as Swatragh welcome Coleraine.

Both teams lost their opening game and with the bottom two teams in the group dropping into a relegation play-off, there will be added importance.

Eoghan Rua has still back-boned by a host of players who won two championships eight years apart.

Swatragh have lacked the consistency to put two championship performances back-to-back and they’ll need to pull out all the stops to push towards a top four and a quarter final berth.

FIXTURES (first team listed plays at home)

GROUP A


Bellaghy v Ballinascreen (Saturday 7.15pm)


Swatragh v Coleraine (Sunday 3.30)


Glen v Lavey (Sunday 5.30)

GROUP B

Magherafelt v Slaughtneil (Sunday 1.30pm)


Kilrea v Steelstown (Sunday 3.30pm)


Newbridge v Ballinderry (Sunday 3.30pm)