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Slaughtneil cruise into last four following shaky start

St Kiernan’s 0-5 Slaughtneil 2-11

By Jamie Casey

Slaughtneil are through to the semi-final of the All-Ireland Club Senior Football Championship after a comfortable victory over St Kiernan’s in Greenford, London.

After a shaky opening 10 minutes, the Ulster champions dominated for the remainder of the game thanks largely to first half goals from Christopher Bradley and Meehaul McGrath.

St Kiernan’s finished the game with 14 men after midfielder James Moran received his second yellow card with 10 minutes remaining.

The Derry side will go on to face St Vincent’s, the Leinster champions, in the last four.

The hosts settled in much better in the opening stages, making the first attempt at target — a wide from Adrian Moyles — before Michael O’Donoghue opened the scoring with a right-footed effort on six minutes.

A poor free from Shane McGuigan added to Slaughtneil’s early frustrations, but a much-needed first score from corner forward Christopher Bradley paved the way for them to gain some composure after 12 minutes, while McGuigan made amends for his earlier miss with a simple free moments later.

To their credit, St Kiernan’s proved their ability to compete with their Derry counterparts, but their confidence was shattered when Christopher Bradley finished off a driving run from Padraig Cassidy with a low, neat finish with 23 minutes gone.

Three minutes later, St Kiernan’s were undone again, this time a misjudgement by the normally dependable Brendan Mulrooney in goal, with Meehaul McGrath getting the better of him in the air to palm home Slaughtneil’s second goal.

The visitors continued to build on their lead through points from Shane McGuigan and Cormac O’Doherty, while the hosts went into the break with just one score to their name at 2-5 to 0-1.

They re-emerged with some fight as talisman Adrian Moyles sailed over two delightful frees but anything St Kiernan’s offered was soon cancelled out.

Slaughtneil took their foot off the gas a little in the second period, but were able to add to their tally regularly through Shane McGuigan and Paul Bradley. Kiernan’s afternoon was summed up when Mayo native Moran received his marching orders for a second bookable offence on 50 minutes, but by then the London outfit were already a beaten side.

St Kiernan’s: B Mulrooney; K Curran, I McGough, D Quinn; P Begley, S Curran, M Mulholland; J Moran, C Og Greene; T Waters, A Moyles (0-3, 3fs), L O’Donoghue; D Ryan, P Finn, M O’Donoghue (0-1). Subs: T Moriarty (0-1) for P Finn, 27mins; J Gallagher for D Ryan, 27mins; J Kingston for D Quinn, (black card) 39 mins;

Slaughtneil: A McMullan; Francis McEldowney, B Rogers, K McKaigue; P McNeil, C McKaigue, K Feeney; Patsy Bradley (0-1), P Cassidy; S McGuigan (0-4, 3fs), Paul Bradley (0-3, 2fs), M McGrath (1-0); C Bradley (1-2), S McGuigan, C Doherty (0-1). Subs: P Kearney for Francis McEldowney, 52mins; S Cassidy for Patsy Bradley, 52mins; G Bradley for Paul Bradley, 52mins; R Bradley for M McGrath, 55mins; P Kelly for C O’Doherty, 55mins; Ferghal McEldowney for C Bradley, 55mins.

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare).

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