Bradley gives Slaughtneil the edge

AIB ULSTER CLUB SFC SEMI-FINAL:

Bradley gives Slaughtneil the edge

The classy full-forward swung over six glorious points as the Derry champions qualified for their first Ulster Club SFC final when defeating a fancied Clontibret at Healy Park yesterday.

Bradley stole the show on a stage that appeared to be made for former All Star attacker Conor McManus, but he managed just one point from play, his threat nullified by man-marking specialist Karl McKaigue.

This was a game that the Oak Leaf men, managed by former county boss Mickey Moran, never looked like losing, and their place in the final looked assured once Christopher Bradley goaled in the 32nd minute.

Slaughtneil made a bright start, going three points ahead inside the opening ten minutes, the best of those scores coming from Paul Bradley.

With Chrissy McKaigue pushing forward from the back at every opportunity, they had their opponents under sustained pressure, and were denied further scores by solid defending from Paul McGuigan and Conor Boyle.

Clontibret struggled to get quality ball through to the front men, and with McKaigue stifling the threat of McManus, they were seriously lacking in a cutting edge.

McManus registered their first score in the 13th minute, and hit all of three of their first half scores from frees. Paul and Christopher Bradley kept the Oak Leaf side in front, but they were fortunate not to concede a goal when Eoin Greenan crossed for Ryan McGuigan at the far post, but his effort was easily dealt with by Anton McMullan.

Slaughtneil led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the interval, and struck a massive blow two minutes into the second half when Francis McEldowney sent Bradley through for a superb goal. McManus replied with two more points, including his side’s first from play in the 35th minute, but they were never able to match their opponents’ ball winning ability around the middle, where Patsy Bradley, Barry McGuigan and Padrig Kelly reigned supreme.

After surviving a difficult spell, they countered again for full forward Bradley to swing over three more quality scores, and they Derry men closed the game out with ease.

Scorers for Slaughtneil: C Bradley 1-1, P Bradley 0-6 (3f), R Bradley, C O’Doherty 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clontibret: C McManus 0-6 (5f), F Greenan 0-1.

CLONTIBRET: C Fadian, D Mooney, C Greenan, D Savage, D Mone, C Boyle, P McGuigan, V Corey, E Greenan, M Corey, C McManus, A Curran, C Lavelle, B Greenan, R McGuigan.

Subs: F Mone for Curran (20), P Boyle for Savage (38), JP Mone for Lavelle (38), F Greenan for E Greenan (50) L Savage for JP Mone (53, BC)

SLAUGHTNEIL: A McMullan, C Cassidy, F McEldowney, K McCaigue, B McGuigan C McKaigue, G Bradley, Patsy Bradley, P McGuigan, P Kelly, C Bradley, R Bradley, C O’Doherty, Paul Bradley, S McGuigan.

Subs: P McNeill for P McGuigan (39)

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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