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Top dogs Slaughtneil need quick recovery

By John Campbell

Derry and Ulster club football champions Slaughtneil are in danger of surrendering both titles should they lose to O'Donovan Rossa (Magherafelt) in what is a hugely important second round domestic championship match tomorrow.

Slaughtneil, while continuing to harbour ambitions that they can remain top dogs in the Oak Leaf county and perhaps extend their tenure on the provincial throne, nonetheless are burdened by apprehension.

In losing to Lavey in their first-round tie, the champions leaked three goals and tomorrow they may be without Cormac Doherty and Patsy Bradley.

Doherty damaged ankle ligaments while representing the club in the Derry hurling championship last week-end while midfield veteran Bradley has yet to make a full return to action this term.

At least one other big gun is likely to fall since Ballinderry and Glenullin both carry considerable status within the county which makes their match-up an alluring contest.

Today Lavey, boosted by that first round win over Slaughtneil, will face Loup while Swatragh will take on Newbridge while in a later double bill Banagher, led by county skipper Mark Lynch, will face Glen and Dungiven oppose Kilrea.

Damien Barton's well-drilled Kilrea could prove the surprise packet of the competition, although they will face a stiff test against a Dungiven side that will feel they have a big point to prove.

Kevin Johnston, Brian Og McGilligan and Conor Murphy will help form the backbone of the Dungiven side while the experienced James Kielt can prove the ace scorer in the Kilrea pack.

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