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Derry champions Slaughtneil seize early initiative

Slaughtneil 2-18 Ballycran 0-14

By Steven Doherty

Derry champions Slaughtneil are through to their second Ulster Senior Hurling Club Championship Final in three years after defeating Ballycran by 10 points in Dungannon.

Leading by five points at half-time thanks to Cormac O'Doherty's 16th minute penalty, the Robert Emmets matched a fierce physicality and a penchant for scores to seize the initiative of the game early on.

A goal from Brendan Rogers put Slaughtneil firmly in control on a score line of 2-11 to 0-08 early in the second period, with Emmet's captain Chrissy McKaigue outstanding at centre field.

Despite Slaughtneil defender Paul McNeill being sent off in the 43rd minute for a second yellow card offence, the Derry champions banged over five of the last six points to run out convincing winners 2-18 to 0-14. James Coyle top scored with eight frees for a Ballycran side that failed to hit top gear.

Brendan Rogers was the pick of the Slaughtneil attackers hitting 1-3 from play and causing chaos in the Ballycran defence any time he was on the ball, while free taker Cormac O'Doherty was unerring with his striking, helping himself to 1-7 over the hour.

"I'm absolutely delighted" said Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane after the win. It was a massive battle out there."

Scorers: Ballycran: James Coyle 0-8f, Scott Nicholson 0-2, Brendan Ennis 0-2, Christopher Egan 0-1, Eugen Gilmore 0-1

Slaughtneil: Cormac O'Doherty 1-7 (0-7f), Brendan Rogers 1-3, Brian Cassidy 0-3, Chrissy McKaigue 0-2, Se McGuigan 0-2, Gareth O'Kane 0-1.

Referee: Owen Elliott (Antrim).

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