Their hurlers lost out after extra-time in the hurling club championship final last Sunday and the footballers surrendered their provincial crown yesterday to a hungrier Scotstown in this totally absorbing contest, played in greasy conditions in Clones.
It was end-to-end stuff throughout with Slaughtneil perhaps a little ponderous at times in their approach while Scotstown’s more direct football paid dividends with Ciaran Hughes keeping them organised at the back and his brother Darren leading the charge up front.
The game started at a cracking pace.
Slaughtneil opened through Christopher Bradley after just 90 seconds and over the next 15 minutes it was tit for tat with the sides level on five occasions.
Darren Hughes was giving Slaughtneil full-back Brendan Rogers a veritable roasting, finishing the half with 1-4 as he hit the reigning Ulster champions with 1-2 inside three blistering minutes.
Slaughtneil’s gruelling schedule was beginning to take its toll.
Kieran Hughes too had a big influence with his scorching pace setting up a number of counter-attacks that kept the Derry men on the back foot.
Scotstown were ahead by six points going into stoppage time with Slaughtneil pulling back two late points through Se McGuigan and a Paul Bradley free to leave four in it at the break (1-9 to 0-8).
Slaughtneil came out with renewed determination for the second half and carried the game to Scotstown in an electric third quarter and by the 50th minute they had the margin down to the minimum, the accuracy of Paul Bradley and Christopher Bradley palying a huge part in their resurgence.
From there to the finish, Scotstown regained the initiative with Conor McCarthy converting two frees and Orin Heaphey picking off an opportunist point from play to edge them three clear with two minutes remaining.
Try as they might, Slaughtneil could not engineer a goal and surrendered their provincial crown.
D Hughes (1-4); C McCarthy 0-5 (3 frees); R Beggan (1f, 45), O Heaphey, S Carey (2 frees) (0-2 each)
P Bradley (0-7, 6 frees); C Bradley (0-4, 1 free); S McGuigan (0-2); R Bradley, Se McGuigan (0-1 each).
R Beggan, D McArdle, E Caulfield, P Sherlock, F McPhillips, K Hughes, D Morgan, F Caulfield, J Turley, O Heaphey, P Keenan, C McCarthy, S Carey, D Hughes, R McKenna.
B McGinnity for R McKenna (43), B Boylan for F McPhillips (51), D McCague for D Hughes (Black Card (60).
A McMullan, F McEldowney, B Rodgers, K McKaigue, P McNeill, C McKaigue, B McGuigan, Patsy Bradley, P Cassidy, P Kelly, Paul Bradley 0-7 (6f), R Bradley 0-1, C Bradley0-4 (1f), Se McGuigan 0-1, S Cassidy.
Shane McGuigan 0-2 for P Kelly (35), M McGrath for Patsy Bradley (40).
C Brannigan (Down)