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Coleraine take quickest route into Derry decider

On target: Colm McGoldrick’s accuracy boosted Coleraine
On target: Colm McGoldrick’s accuracy boosted Coleraine
John Campbell

By John Campbell

In a season to date in which extra-time, draws and replays have become part of the staple GAA diet, Eoghan Rua Coleraine still believe in taking the quickest route to potential success in the Derry senior football championship.

For the second time in five days, they produced a stirring second half performance to book their place in the final, this time conquering Ballinascreen in a lively semi by 1-11 to 0-9.

If reigning champions Slaughtneil bore the full weight of the Eoghan Rua attacking machinery in Wednesday's memorable quarter-final, then Ballinascreen were left in no doubt that they intend to go all the way by the ferocity and passion which they unleashed.

Ahead by 1-5 to 0-4 at half-time with Colm McGoldrick's goal helping to cushion their lead, Eoghan Rua held firm after the break despite the heroic efforts of Benny Heron to keep a flagging Ballinascreen in contention.

For Coleraine, this was another morale-boosting win coming as it did in a week in which they made the national headlines following their dismissal of Slaughtneil who had designs on winning what would have been their fourth consecutive Derry title.

But Coleraine's feet are remaining firmly on the ground as they bid to recapture the title they landed a few years ago against all the odds.

Lavey's passage into the decider was rather more straightforward, their 2-11 to 1-6 win over Glen highlighted by goals from Eamon McGill and Declan Hughes with Emmet Bradley's subsequent three-pointer for the losers very much in the nature of a consolation score.

Lavey led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the break but turned the screw in the second half to such an extent that there was never any doubt about the outcome.

In the Tyrone senior football championship semi-finals, Killyclogher and Coalisland had their passports into the showdown stamped by virtue of semi-final wins over Edendork and Ardboe respectively.

Killyclogher left it late in keeping their bid to replicate their 2016 title triumph alive, though. Goals from PT Cunningham and Conall McCann helped Killyclogher accumulate 2-4 at the end of normal time with Shay McGuigan's goal sustaining Ardboe's challenge as they racked up 1-7.

But it was in the second period of extra time that Nathan Donnelly, Matthew Murnaghan and Tiernan Cox grabbed points for Killyclogher that kept them on course for glory.

In the other semi-final, Coalisland are hoping to bridge an eight-year gap by winning the title after beating Edendork by 1-11 to 0-12.

In what was a tough, tight encounter Coalisland' s extra helping of experience stood them in good stead against an Edendork side for whom Darren McCurry and Niall Morgan performed superbly.

But Peter Herron's goal, the power of Padraig Hampsey and Michael McKernan and the finishing of Paddy McNeice underscored Coalisland's efforts.

Meanwhile, Scotstown lifted the Monaghan senior football crown for the fourth successive year by beating Ballybay by 1-12 to 0-13 in yesterday's final.

Conor McCarthy's goal in the sixth minute of the second half was to prove crucial as it swept the winners into a 1-9 to 0-6 lead and although Paul Finlay and Dessie Ward did their utmost to bolster Ballybay's challenge, Scotstown never looked like surrendering the initiative.

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