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McGuigan's late show points Slaughtneil into last eight

 

By John Campbell

Three late points from Shane McGuigan ensured that Slaughtneil's passport into the Derry Senior Football Championship quarter-finals was stamped when they beat O'Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt last night by 0-10 to 0-5.

McGuigan held his nerve in a tense finish to pilot his side into a clear lead and thus remain on course to retain their county and provincial titles.

Slaughtneil will obviously remain in pole position to take another title given their phenomenal recent record but they will need to show a step-up in form if they are to meet the bigger challenges that await in the closing stages of the competition.

They look to have their experienced brigade on board and their resilience and character can stand them in good stead as they bid to remain kings of the Ulster castle.

Lavey, meanwhile , served a warning that they too have the title in their sights by overcoming Dungiven by 0-11 to 0-6 with Ciaran O' Boyle pointing two late frees to complement an earlier point from Niall Toner.

Lavey, who were well served by Caolan O'Boyle, are showing a strong drive just now and their quarter-final meeting with Loup will create considerable interest.

Ballinascreen survived a scare against Bellaghy before winning by 2-10 to 0-14 with both their goals coming from county ace Benny Heron.

Heron may not have graced the Derry jersey too often this year but he showed yesterday that he is still a prolific finisher and his first goal in particular was a the product of a creative build-up and clinical finish.

Frankie Donnelly, though, did his best to keep Bellaghy in the picture, his unerring accuracy helping to sustain his side when Ballinascreen threatened to take control of the game.

In the Armagh Senior Football Championship 2016 champions Maghery Sean MacDermotts overcame the reigning champions Armagh Harps by 0-12 to 0-11 in a tense struggle at Maghery last night with Stephen Cusack and Brendan Heavron leading the scoring.

But the Maghery victory was tarnished to some extent because of the dismissal of experienced playmaker Aidan Forker to a straight red card.

They had been forced to field without 21-year-old midfield ace Ben Crealey who is recovering from a hamstring injury and when Harps imposed themselves in the middle third it looked as if they might take command.

But Maghery's tenacity and resilience were to stand them in good stead especially in the closing stages when they were forced to play with 14 men.

Maghery had looked to be in danger at that period but managed to keep their shape as Harps made a desperate bid to salvage the game.

And a late goal from a penalty by Michael Carson helped to give Pearse Og a rather flattering 2-12 to 0-10 victory over Tir na nog.

Pearse Og are dark horses in the Armagh championship race but they are hardly likely to take false comfort from this win over a Tir na Og side that struggled to find real cohesion at times.

Annaghmore, who have been proving something of a surprise packet in the competition, fell to Killeavy by 0-9 to 0-6 while St Patrick's glided by Granemore in resounding fashion by 3-17 to 0-7.

Veteran Saffrons' forward Paddy Cunningham was in fine form for Lamh Dhearg in their 2-15 to 0-9 win over Aghagallon in the Antrim senior football championship while Portglenone were fully extended by O'Donovan Rossa before coming out on top by 3-12 to 3-8.

Cunningham captained Antrim in the 2009 Ulster final against Tyrone and is still doing the business.

St Teresa's were comfortable 3-12 to 1-7 winners over Glenavy while Ahoghill were pushed all the way by St Brigid's before winning by 2-10 to 1-12.

Quarter-finals: Loup v Lavey, Ballinderry v Watty Graham's, Greenlough v Ballinacsreen, Eoghan Rua v Slaughtneil.

Belfast Telegraph

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