Lavey defeat champs Slaughtneil
Derry and Ulster club champions Slaughtneil have every reason to be grateful the qualifier format exists in their domestic championship following a chastening experience at the hands of an inspired Lavey side when they lost by 3-7 to 1-11 at Owenbeg last night.
For Slaughtneil this was confirmation that retaining their titles will be a mountainous task, for Lavey it was a seminal victory that could yet spark a lucrative itinerary.
Cailean O'Boyle's master-class in finishing - he landed 2-5 in all - allied to Niall Toner's creativity highlighted a Lavey performance that was right out of the top drawer in terms of skill, character and staying power.
No fewer than eight Slaughtneil players scored with Christopher Bradley and Chrissy McKaigue, each of whom landed three points and Shea McGuigan who pocketed their goal in the fifth minute, showing the way in the finishing stakes.
Kilrea manager Damien Barton - an All-Ireland hero with Derry back in 1993 - is among those being mentioned in connection with the county team managerial vacancy and he certainly did his credentials no harm yesterday when he piloted his club to an emphatic 3-17 to 1-11 victory over Swatragh.
And Bellaghy hinted at a possible return to glory days when they overcame Glen by 2-14 to 1-10.
Goals from Frankie Donnelly and Eoghan Brown underpinned their win while Ruairi McElwee, Conor Doherty and Joe Diver made substantial contributions to the team's cause.
Dungiven put their heads above the parapet in accounting for Banagher by 2-11 to 1-10, while Foreglen just about managed to get the better of Newbridge by 1-12 to 1-10.
Tomorrow night Ballinderry will play their first championship match since the untimely death of Aaron Devlin when they meet Ballinascreen in a Derry championship tie that has special allure.