Slick Slaughtneil's power and patience gets them into Ulster final

Slaughtneil (Derry) 1-11 Killyclogher (Tyrone) 0-8: Slaughtneil combined patience and composure with power and pace as they swept into another Ulster final.

Slick Slaughtneil's power and patience gets them into Ulster final

Meehaul McGrath’s 33rd- minute goal gave them a buffer to exert control with they kept the ball brilliantly.

The Tyrone champions were starved of possession as the Derrymen picked them off with carefully constructed scores in the second half.

The approach was more direct in the opening period, when they ran hard at their opponents, winning the frees that Paul Bradley despatched to lay a solid foundation.

“Full credit to the boys, they kept the ball well, and that got us over the line,” said full-back Brendan Rogers. “In the second half, we were a bit more composed on the ball.”

The 2014 provincial champions struggled against Derrygonnelly of Fermanagh in the quarter-final, but yesterday were back to their best. Mickey Moran’s men got joy from a direct game putting Killyclogher on the back foot.

“They tackle in droves, and so do Tyrone, and if you don’t go at pace against teams like that, you’re caught out, and that’s when you conceded scores,” Rogers reckoned.

Mark Bradley slipped Karl McKaigue to split the posts from his first touch, but the Derry men soon settled, with Paul Bradley and Shane McGuigan converting frees.

Initially, they adopted a patient approach, with Paul Bradley and Christopher Bradley probing for openings, but it was Rogers who set the tone for a shift in emphasis.

After he sliced through the Tyrone side’s defence with a surging run from deep, setting up another free-kick opportunity which Bradley dispatched, Slaughtneil learned there was profit to be had from running directly at opponents.

And so a nervous defence coughed up the frees, which Bradley knocked over to give them a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead, with Conall McCann and Simon O’Neill on target for the St Mary’s in the interim.

Sé McGuigan produced the dainty footwork and body-swerves that sent McGrath in for a straightforward finish to the net less than three minutes into the second half.

Slaughtneil held possession for lengthy spells, and swooped for scores through Padraig Cassidy and Christopher Bradley when the opportunities arose. Cassidy curbed the running threat posed by Tiernan McCann, and Rogers and Keelan Feeney were excellent at the back.

Killyclogher fell eight points behind, and despite a late fightback, it was too late for scores from Mark Bradley, Tiernan Cox and Martin Swift to make a difference, though Antoin McMullan did pull off a terrific save from Cox.

Scorers for Slaughtneil:

M McGrath (1-0); Paul Bradley (0-5 frees); C Bradley (0-2); Shane McGuigan (f), Se McGuigan, P Cassidy, R Bradley (0-1 each)

Scorers for Killyclogher:

M Bradley (0-4(3 frees); C McCann, S O’Neill (f), T Cox, M Swift (0-1 each)

SLAUGHTNEIL:

A McMullan, F McEldowney, B Rogers, K McKaigue, P McNeill, C McKaigue, K Feeney, Patsy Bradley, P Cassidy, Shane McGuigan, Paul Bradley, M McGrath, C Bradley, Se McGuigan, C O’Doherty.

Subs:

R Bradley for O’Doherty (52), P Kelly for McGrath (63)

KILLYCLOGHER:

S Fox, M Swift, D Gorman, G Sludden, T McCann, E Bradley, G Wallace, C McCann, F Meenagh, A Kelly, T Flanagan, N Donnelly, E McFadden, M Bradley, S O’Neill.

Subs:

J Carlin for Flanagan (26), T Cox for Donnelly (43), D Leonard for O’Neill (44), M Meenagh for F Meenagh (58), C Meenan for Kelly (63)

Referee:

C Branagan (Down).

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