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Slaughtneil success sparks belief in Derry's future

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Top man: Patsy Bradley with the man of the match trophy

Top man: Patsy Bradley with the man of the match trophy

Lorcan Doherty

Top man: Patsy Bradley with the man of the match trophy

Slaughtneil's feat of winning both the Derry senior hurling and football championship titles is already being seen as a portent of better things to come for the county.

It was in a tense battle against the reigning champions Ballinderry on Sunday that Slaughtneil, courtesy of a last-gasp goal from Gerald Bradley, managed to add the football crown to the hurling accolade that had been picked up earlier.

The victory has triggered a wave of optimism within Oak Leaf territory that 2015 could see a revival of fortunes at inter-county level in both codes.

The last Derry club to win both titles in the same year was Lavey in 1992 and the following year the county won the All-Ireland senior football title under the baton of the late Eamon Coleman.

Apart from their Ulster final triumph in 1998, Derry have remained in the shadows since then in football terms and have largely stayed below the radar in a hurling context.

But Slaughtneil's grit, skill, dedication and pride are being hailed on all sides as an example of what it takes to succeed.

Derry PRO Dermot McPeake pinpoints the fact that Lavey's achievement in 1992 helped to garner a new spirit of optimism and belief within the county.

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"I think that Slaughtneil's achievement shows that Derry is now ready to move forward," states McPeake. "There is a clear yearning on the part of many people to see Derry restored as a football power and also to see the county gain further status in hurling.

"Slaughtneil have sparked the belief that better times could be ahead but this will only come about if there is a lot of hard work put in and constant commitment given."

Slaughtneil's dual players - and they have several - will be in action again on Sunday when Cushendall are the opposition in the Ulster club hurling championship first round replay.

"Obviously it has been very hectic for Slaughtneil on all fronts lately but those players who participate both in football and hurling at senior level for the club have certainly been putting in a big effort," adds McPeake.

l THE ugly scenes that marred Sunday's Derry football final could come under investigation by the Derry county board.

After referee Anthony Campbell signalled the end of the game, a number of umpires were surrounded by players and supporters following Slaughtneil's dramatic winning goal in the closing minutes.

During the fracas, an umpire is believed to have been struck and sported an injury to the eye area. Such scenes of misconduct have been met with heavy punishment in the past as the GAA have adopted a hardline approach to such incidents in recent years.

A Derry county board spokesman responded; "We await the referee's report. After which, the Competition Controls Committee will investigate any matters arising."


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