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Slaughtneil camogs eyeing more success after historic Ulster title win

Slaughtneil 3-7 Loughgiel 0-9


Well done: Slaughtneil Joint captains Sionnan Graham and Jolene Bradley raise the cup aloft. Credit: Cathal McOscar

Well done: Slaughtneil Joint captains Sionnan Graham and Jolene Bradley raise the cup aloft. Credit: Cathal McOscar

Well done: Slaughtneil Joint captains Sionnan Graham and Jolene Bradley raise the cup aloft. Credit: Cathal McOscar

Goals win games. That adage was proven once more on Saturday when Slaughtneil scored three to enter the record books as the first team to win a sixth successive Ulster club title, surpassing the achievements of two Belfast clubs, Deirdre (1964-68) and Rossa (2004-08).

The final score-line of 3-7 to 0-9 suggests a comfortable enough outing for the Derry champions who now progress to an All-Ireland semi-final against Sarsfield’s from Galway in five weeks’ time.

However winning coach Micky Glover felt that his side was a little under the cosh for long periods during the game.

“Loughgiel are a pedigree side and they push you to the limits,” he said.

“Today they set up very well and they troubled us. Rotating the forwards the way they did caused a good bit of confusion in our back-line.

“They also went out to take us on in contrast to maybe the two games before Christmas when they seemed to set up in an effort to contain us and catch us on the break.

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“We badly needed the first goal because it gave us a bit of a gap to work with. They got on top for periods of the first half and put us under a lot of pressure. There was a bit of luck about the goal, yes. But there are lucky scores in all games.”

The opening goal came after 12 minutes when Slaughtneil were 0-3 to 0-2 up, despite Loughgiel having more of the play. Olivia Rafferty broke the line and had a go at a point. The sliotar seemed to be pulling wide but dipped at just the right time to squeeze in at the angle between crossbar and upright.

Loughgiel responded to the set-back with the next three points and were just two points adrift at the break, 1-4 to 0-5. They also had a lot of the play over the opening ten minutes of the second half until the other two Slaughtneil goals arrived.

“I will have to look back over the recording of the game, but I thought our goals probably came against the run of play. They were pressing a lot at our end and then Cliodhna (Ní Mhianáin) took off and cleared the ball up the right wing to Olivia (Rafferty).

“Olivia did what we have been asking her to do; she took her player on. That created the extra player inside and Sinéad Mellon got the goal. There was that bit of space up there because Loughgiel were committed to attack and we broke fast.”

The second goal came within 60 seconds and killed off any chance of a Loughgiel comeback. Therese Mellon’s shot was half-blocked and fell short of the target. However it bounced off the goalie’s stick and her cousin Sinéad was on hand to force it over the line.

The Ulster title however won’t satisfy the Slaughtneil hunger. Just before Christmas they went through to the delayed 2020 All-Ireland semi-final and were turned over by Oulart-The Ballagh from Wexford who went on to win the final. It was the first time Slaughtneil had failed to turn an Ulster title into an All-Ireland final appearance.

“As management we didn’t want to dangle that carrot in front of them. Instead we wanted them to play an Ulster final. But inside every one of them, they want to be where they are now,” added Mellon.

“They will get a couple of days off to celebrate. They didn’t get to celebrate the 2020 final before Christmas as the All-Ireland was the following week.

“We have five weeks to prepare for Sarsfield’s and they know they have a lot of hard work to do.”

Slaughtneil: J Bradley capt; O McNeill, L Dougan 0-2 frees, E McGrath, B McAllister, Céat McEldowney, C McGrath; S Graham, C Ní Mhianáin 0-2, C Mulholland; T Bradley 0-2 frees, A Ní Chaiside, O Rafferty 1-0, S Mellon 2-0, T Mellon 0-1.

Subs : C Glass for E McGrath, F Burke for T Mellon, Carla McEldowney for C Mulholland, E McGuigan for O Rafferty, C Kearney for S Mellon

Loughgiel: M Coyle, C Campbell, K Lynn, M Lynn, E McFadden, L McNaughton 0-2, S Devlin, M Connolly., C Dobbin, E McMullan, R Murphy 0-1, A Lynn, Christine Laverty, R McCormick 0-6, 5 frees.

Subs: A Connolly for E McFadden, Ciara Laverty for E McMullan

Referee: P McDonald (Cavan)

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