DERRY GAA: Slaughtneil crowned hurling champions again after defeating Banagher
Slaughtneil 2-19, Banagher 1-12
Slaughtneil were crowned Derry Senior Hurling champions for a fourth successive year after Brendan Rogers inspired the Emmet’s to victory over Banagher at a wind swept Owenbeg on Sunday.
Slaughtneil’s dual star helped himself to 1-05 from play, including an injury time goal, with Cormac O’Doherty registering 0-10 (7f) as the champions’ experience told against a young St Mary’s side.
Whatever plans both managers had put in place going into the game, the gale force breeze that greeted the teams probably put pay to most of them and it was Slaugthneil’s ability to score against the elements that proved the defining factor.
The Emmet’s hit 2-05 in the second half compared to Banagher’s first half tally of 0-03 with Rogers, O’Doherty and Se McGuigan contributing 2-16 of their side’s total.
The wind was at Slaughtneil backs in the opening half which meant the reigning champions were in control from the off and it was damage limitation time for Banagher with Brian McGilligan probably hoping to be chasing a six or seven [point deficit on the turn around.
St. Mary’s started well though, scraping for every ball and even grabbed the game’s first score when a Shane Farren free broke kindly for Tiarnan McCloskey to send the rebound back over the bar but it didn’t take long for Mark McGuigan to level.
Brendan Rogers edged Slaughtneil in front and from there to the break it was about Banagher trying to stay in the game when they would get the benefit of a wind which was ruining the game as a spectacle.
Six minutes in and the only real surprise was Slaughtneil scoring machine, O’Doherty, had yet to register a score but within 60 seconds he corrected that with two points, one from a free, to put the Emmet’s 0-4 to 0-1 up.
And with O’Doherty finding his range, Banagher were conscious any foul inside their half, and even a few inside the Slaughtneil half, were scorable chances.
Shane Farren’s free was Banagher second score but St Mary’s were managing only rare sorties into the Slaughtneil half and even fewer were close enough to manage a shot at the posts.
Further points from Rogers (2), six further frees from O’Doherty and two from play by Chrissy McKaigue gave the champions an interval lead of 0-14 to 0-3 with Farren adding the other Banagher score from a free but they should have been closer.
In first half injury time, Mark Lynch broke clear but rather than shooting, and conscious of the wind and chasing defenders, he squared to Darragh Cartin but his low shot was easily saved and a gilt edged chances was gone.
Any ideas O’Doherty’s influence would wane against the wind were dispelled withing 40 seconds of the restart as the Slaughtneil dangerman added his seventh free of the game, Farren responding in kind for Banagher.
The Emmet’s dropped Chrissy McKaigue back into a sweeping role to counteract the breeze but Banagher were not getting the same sort of joy as Slaughtneil whose ability to score against the breeze was killing any Banagher momentum.
Any time Banagher threatened to put together a run of scores, the Emmet’s slowed the game or picked out a score with Rogers going through a lot of selfless running for his side.
Banagher had brought it back to 0-19 to 0-10 but when Se McGuigan superbly touched a dropping O’Doherty free to the net on 53 minutes it merely confirmed what had looked on the cards from early in the first half.
There was still time for Cartin to grab a consolation goal after Shane Farren penalty was pushed out but the last say was fittingly left to Rogers.
After a lovely point, the corner forward got up above Banagher keeper Darrell McDermott to win possession, step inside and hit the net to reaffirm his side’s grip in Derry hurling at present.
The challenge for this Slaughtneil side is to translate that grip on to the provincial scene when they go in search of an Ulster title they have come agonisingly close too in recent seasons.
Slaughtneil: Oisin O’Doherty; Ruairi McCartney, Sean Cassidy, Paul McNeil; Meehaul McGrath, Karl McKaigue, Shane McGuigan; Conor McAllister, Eanna Cassidy; Chrissy McKaigue (0-2), Cormac O’Doherty (0-10, 7f, 1 sixty-five), Cormac McKenna; Brendan Rogers (1-5), Se McGuigan (1-1), Mark McGuigan (0-1). (Subs) Gerald Bradley for E Cassidy, 45mins; Brian Cassidy for C McKenna, 51mins; Michael Kearney for C McCartney, 60mins; Gareth O’Kane for C O’Doherty, 62mins
Banagher: Farrell McDermott; Niall Farren, Ruairi McCloskey (0-1, 1f), Gabriel Farren; Darragh McCloskey, Sean McCullagh (0-1, 1f), Ciaran Lynch; Mark Lynch, Brian Og McGilligan; Pauric McCloskey, Steafan McCloskey (0-1), Tiarnan McCloskey (0-1); Shane Farren (0-7, 5f), Oisin McCloskey (1-0), Darragh Cartin (0-1). (Subs) Jonathan O’Dwyer for P McCloskey, 34mins; Shane Murphy for C Lynch, 53mins;
Referee: Eamon Hasson (Swatragh)