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Rogers injury is a major blow for Slaughtneil

 

By John Campbell

Derry and Ulster Club football champions Slaughtneil face the daunting prospect of being without defensive lynchpin Brendan Rogers for several weeks.

Rogers, a cornerstone of the side which has won four successive Oak Leaf county titles and back-to-back provincial titles, has damaged ankle tendons.

When he initially incurred the injury it was not thought to be serious but subsequent medical tests have shown that it may take some time to heel.

Rogers has been an ever-present in the Slaughtneil football and hurling sides which have reigned supreme of late and his absence will be more keenly felt now that the closing stages in both codes have been reached.

Slaughtneil have been drawn against Eoghan Rua, Coleraine in the football quarter-finals after shipping heavy criticism for the manner in which they achieved their victory over O'Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt last Sunday.

Over 5,000 fans attended the game but were treated to the unedifying spectacle of a 'keep ball' policy as Slaughtneil retained possession in a tedious four minutes prior to the interval.

They may have come out on top (0-10 to 0-5) but Slaughtneil will be expected to show a much more adventurous approach against Eoghan Rua.

Following the departure of Terence McWilliams after an all-too-brief stay as manager in succession to Mickey Moran and John Joe Kearney, former players Padraig Kelly and Colm McEldowney stepped into the breach and it has been a case of so far, so good.

In the other quarter-finals, Ballinascreen will hope experienced county ace Benny Heron can show his goalscoring touch against Greenlough, who will look to this year's Derry skipper Enda Lynn for inspiration.

James Kielt, meanwhile, is showing fine scoring form with Lavey and will be a key figure in their line-up against Loup.

Ballinderry, no strangers to success in Derry, will take on Glen.

Both teams have showed up well in their games to date but the quarter-finals are expected to provide tough, tense matches as the pressure is stepped up.

Belfast Telegraph

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