Hurling and camogie

Ruthless Slaughtneil bag seventh consecutive Derry senior camogie title with comprehensive win over Ballinascreen

Tina Bradley scored 0-5 from frees in Slaughtneil's Derry senior camogie final win over Ballinascreen

The Elk Derry Senior camogie final: Slaugthneil 1-14 Ballinascreen 0-3

WE should never have questioned their credentials. Slaughtneil gave an emphatic response to those who believed that Ballinascreen had a chance of halting their seven in-a-row bid based on the latter's semi-final performance against a Swatragh side that had taken the Emmett's to a replay last autumn.

The result was never in doubt from the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute. From that point on the holders tightened their grip on proceedings, played the sliotar directly to a forward in space and they gradually tagged on the points to pull away and win comfortably.

Yet Ballinascreen got a decent start with a point from Jackie Donnelly in the first minute and they stifled Slaughtneil over the opening 20 minutes. However their problem was the deliveries into the forward line which was picked up rather easily by either Josie McMullan or Clíodhna Ní Mhianáin and they put them back under pressure at half-back.

There were also a few efforts at points that dropped short in that opening spell and a free from Áine McAllister that pulled wide of the target.

The goal came in the next Slaughtneil attack; the sliotar was fed back for Brídín McAllister to deliver long. A touch from a defender's stick deceived Emma McIvor who had come off her line to collect and the sliotar fell invitingly for Therese Mellon to rifle to the net.

Tina Bradley soon added a fourth point from a free and Slaughtneil pushed on before the break with points from Cliona Mulholland and Sinéad Mellon before Mary Hegarty responded close to half-time, making the score 1-6 to 0-2 at the turnover.

Olivia Rafferty burst through for a point on the restart and, although Áine McAllister hit a fine point in reply, Ballinascreen failed to raise another flag and the holders kept hammering nails into their coffin.

Tina Bradley from a free and Therese Mellon added points before the second water break and there were five points during the last quarter, all cleverly created and finished with aplomb by Clíodhna Ní Mhianáin, Therese Mellon (0-2), Céat McEldowney and Sinéad Mellon.

Ballinascreen might have sneaked in for a couple of goals – when Áine McAllister tried to catch the defence with a quick free and when Jackie Donnelly fired a shot off the base of the post – but those would only have been a decoration on the scoreboard as Slaughtneil entered seventh heaven with an emphatic team performance announcing that they are far from finished as a championship team.

In the earlier game Magherafelt comfortably collected the Derry Junior title with a 4-10 to 1-3 win over Greenlough.

Slaughtneil: J Bradley; O McNeill, J McMullan, E McGrath, B McAllister, C Ní Mhianáin (0-1), C McGrath, S Graham, C McEldowney (0-1), C Mulholland (0-1), T Bradley (0-5 frees), A Ní Chaiside, O Rafferty (0-1), S Mellon (0-2), T Mellon (1-3).

Subs: F Burke for C Mulholland (57), C Burns for O McNeill (58), E McGuigan for O Rafferty (60 + 2).

Ballinascreen: E McIvor; M Bradley, D Donnelly; L McBride; C McBride; K-M Hegarty, O McGuigan, L McKenna, C Rafferty; Á McAllister (0-1), R McAllister (0-1); M Hegarty (0-1), R Kelly; J Donnelly (0-1), E McGuigan (0-1)

Subs: S McGuigan for M Heggarty (34), M McGillian for E McGuigan (43), C Kelly for R Kelly (45), S Scullion for C Rafferty (56), Á Doyle for L McKenna (60)

Referee: S Curran

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Hurling and camogie