Slaughtneil throw down gauntlet to rivals Coleraine
They may have taken a little time to get into their stride in the Derry Senior Football Championship but reigning title-holders Slaughtneil - they are also the Ulster club champions - underlined their intention to retain both trophies when they overwhelmed Bellaghy in last night's one-sided county semi-final at Owenbeg.
Slaughtneil were in a different class to their opponents and in recording their emphatic 2-16 to 1-6 victory they highlighted their soaring ambition, solid team spirit and strength in depth.
Early goals from Cormac O'Doherty and Chrissy Bradley sent them on their way and by half-time they had constructed a commanding 2-8 to 0-5 lead. Se McGuigan, Ronan Bradley and Brendan Rogers were among the players who helped accentuate the team's dominance in the second-half, a late goal from a penalty for Bellaghy proving nothing more than a false embellishment of the final scoreline.
Slaughtneil will now gear up for their third county final in four years and on current form will be difficult to beat.
Coleraine Eoghan Rua caused something of an upset in the other semi-final when they beat Ballinderry by 0-15 to 1-8 to reach the final for only the second time in their history.
Ballinderry looked capable of moving up a gear when they led by 1-5 to 0-5 at half-time but when Gavin McWilliams scored two points that brought the sides level after the break, fresh confidence permeated the Eoghan Rua outfit, which included five McGoldricks.
With Stephen Coyles joining McWilliams in picking off important points, Ballinderry's momentum was stifled and it was perhaps appropriate that two of the talented McGoldricks, Colm and Ciaran, scored the points that took Coleraine into the decider.
Meanwhile, Trillick turned in a power-packed semi-final performance to overcome Coalisland by 0-13 to 0-5 and book their place in the Tyrone Senior Football Championship decider against Killyclogher on Sunday week.
Trillick, inspired by Mattie Donnelly and Lee Brennan, took control in the early stages.
They may have shot 11 wides but with Brennan on the mark early, his side were never in trouble as Rory Brennan and Richard Donnelly, along with the Gormleys, Niall and Shane, threw their weight behind their side's cause.
Dermot Thornton and Paddy McNeice attempted to keep Coalisland afloat but Trillick's energy proved too much.
Castlewellan booked a Down Football Championship final meeting with Kilcoo in overcoming Ballyholland by 1-13 to 0-8 in last night's semi-final, Kevin Duffin's goal proving the catalyst for a strong second-half performance.
In the Down Senior Hurling Championship final, Ballycran switched into overdrive in the last 10 minutes against Ballygalget, scoring 1-4 which helped to project them to the title on a 1-15 to 0-16 scoreline.
Ballygalget wielded authority in the first-half and led by 0-11 to 0-6 at the break but a goal from Brendan Ennis sparked the Ballycran surge to victory.
There was success for Tyrone in the All-Ireland Minor Hurling 'C' final when they proved superior to Mayo by 2-12 to 1-10. Goals from Brannon Molloy and John Campbell helped to swing the game.
A new crowd record was set yesterday for the All-Ireland Ladies football final when 31,083 fans flocked to Croke Park to see Cork make it five titles on the trot by beating Dublin by 0-12 to 0-10.