Slaughtneil 0-12, St Vincent’s 0-10
Slaughtneil produced a powerful display of big heart and cool heads to defeat favourites St Vincent’s and progress to their second All Ireland club final in three years.
Two clubs that represented GAA’s broad church locked muscular horns for a place in the Croke Park showpiece final – St. Vincent’s from the richly populated capital and Slaughtneil hailing from rural, Gaeltacht-speaking south Derry, and both riding the crest of a wonderfully successful, provincial-winning wave.
Only Slaughtneil’s odyssey continues.
An Enda Varley clinker, his fourth point of the half, edged a low scoring but otherwise highly enthralling first 30 minutes in St Vincent’s favour.
Other than that there was little to separate these two well matched protagonists. Christopher Bradley opened the scoring for the Ulster champions after three minutes, but scores from Varley, Nathan Mullins and Diarmuid Connolly (well shackled by Chrissy McKaigue) tipped the scales in the Dubliners favour at 0-3 to a point after 10 minutes.
The Emmet’s fought back through frees from Shane McGuigan and a second point from Sammy Bradley to see Slaughtneil just a point behind at 0-6 to 0-5.
Chrissy McKaigue’s opening score of the second half not only pulled his side level again, but it would be the first of three second half points from play from the inspirational Emmet’s captain.
At 0-7 apiece, Slaughtneil upped the ante around the 40 th minute, hitting four of the next five scores from McGuigan, Bradley and two from McKaigue. At 0-11 to 0-8 up in a game where scores were scarce, the Derry men decided ‘what we have we hold’ and proceeded to play ‘keep ball’ for the remainder of the game.
St Vincent’s, despite chasing shadows at times, battled back to within a point through Shane Carthy. But, deep in injury time, Paul Bradleyconfirmed the two point win with the last score of the contest.
Slaughtneil: A McMullan, F McEldowney, B Rodgers, K McKaigue, P McNeill, C McKaigue (0-4), K Feeney, P Bradley, P Cassidy, S McGuigan (0-3,2fs), P Bradley (0-2, 2fs), M McGrath, C Bradley (0-3), S McGuigan, C O’Doherty. Subs: R Bradley for Se McGuigan (54), B McGuigan for K McKaigue (BC, 64)
St Vincent’s: M Savage, M Concarr, J Curley, C Wilson, B Eagan, G Brennan, C Diamond, N Mullins (0-1), S Carthy (0-1), G Burke (0-2), D Connolly (0-1), C Diamond, R Trainor, E Varley (0-5, 3fs), T Quinn. Subs: A Martin for Trainor (46), J Feeney for C Diamond (BC, 61), K Golden for C Diamond (67), F Breathnach for Mullins (58), S McCusker for Egan (BC, 62)
REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)