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Slaughtneil hold nerve to clinch trophy treble

Eoghan Rua 0-9 Slaughtneil 1-7

By Cahair O'Kane

Slaughtneil created another piece of history by adding the Derry football title to their senior hurling and camogie crowns with a deserved narrow win over Eoghan Rua, Coleraine.

Having seen their camogs claim silverware earlier in the day, the Emmets held off a brave Coleraine fightback to secure back-to-back football titles for the first time in their history.

They deserved it on the basis of the whole hour, but Coleraine will no doubt regret not having come out of their defensive shell a bit sooner.

The reigning champions went in at the end of a very defensive first-half with a 0-4 to 0-3 lead. Despite the blazing sunshine, it was an error-ridden opening 30 minutes played in front of a disappointing crowd of just 2,561.

Mickey Moran's side had the half's one real goal chance when Francis McEldowney found himself in, but his effort crashed back off the angle of crossbar and post.

Slaughtneil had led by 0-3 to 0-1 at the end of the first quarter, with Ronan Bradley notching their one score from play, to which man of the match Paul Bradley and Padraig Kelly added frees.

Barry McGoldrick (free) and Gavin McWilliams brought Coleraine level with a quick burst but another Bradley free proved the half's final score in the 21st minute.

There was little in the way of excitement in that opening period and nothing much changed until Sé McGuigan rose to fist home a dropping Bradley free on 40 minutes to give Slaughtneil a 1-5 to 0-3 lead.

Bradley's effort from beyond the '45' hung short and McGuigan powered across the edge of the six-yard box to flick past Ryan McGeough, who looked at his hesitant defence for answers.

They have held leads superbly all season and it appeared that, from such a strong position, there was only going to be one winner.

But the last 20 minutes of the game were by far the best as Coleraine came out of their defensive cocoon and began to attack the Slaughtneil defence.

Sean McGoldrick's side, seeking a second county title to add to their 2010 success, briefly pushed Liam McGoldrick into the forward line and his turn and pass at full-forward laid on their best chance of reprieve. However, Barry McGuigan came across in time to force Ciaran Lenehan to shoot over from 10 yards.

It was one of a run of scores that saw the underdogs hit six of the game's last seven points, although they could have been killed off when Sé McGuigan went through again, only to be denied by the knees of McGeough.

With a minute to play, Barry McGoldrick sliced a 40-metre free wide and it was to prove vital as, when Conor Carey pointed from 15 yards, the gap had been cut to the minimum.

In the end, though, they were too late in cutting loose and Slaughtneil held on to back up last year's title success.

eoghan rua: R McGeough; C Mullan, L McGoldrick, C Lagan; R Mooney, SL McGoldrick (0-1), R Carey; N Holly, B McGoldrick; C Lenehan (0-1), D Mullan, S Coyles (0-1); Ciaran McGoldrick, Colm McGoldrick (0-3, 0-2f), G McWilliams (0-1). Subs: C Carey (0-1) for Ciaran McGoldrick (39), J Diamond for Lagan (black card, 56), S Heneghan for S Coyles (59).

SLAUGHTNEIL: A McMullan; Francis McEldowney, B Rogers, K McKaigue; P McNeill, C McKaigue, B McGuigan; Patsy Bradley, P Cassidy; P Kelly (0-1f), Paul Bradley (0-4, 0-3f), R Bradley (0-1); C Bradley (0-1), Sé McGuigan (1-0), C O'Doherty. Subs: Shane McGuigan for O'Doherty (45), M McGrath for P Kelly (52).


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