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No joy in senior football championship first round

Eoghan Rua were always playing catch-up football as Slaughtneil stole a march on them at the beginning of each half in this first round Derry senior championship tie in front of a large crowd at Glen last Sunday evening. Three points up after seven minutes Slaughtneil went into the break 0-6 to 0-4 ahead but it was the fast start early in the second half that really caused the damage. A goal in the first minute of the second half and then a further three points without reply eight minutes in had Slaughtneil 1-9 to 0-4 ahead, despite a battling performance by Eoghan Rua over the closing twenty minutes they went down 1-12 to 0-9. Slaughtneil join the winners side of the draw for a place in the quarter –finals while Eoghan Rua have a second bite to go through to the last eight via the qualifiers.

Slaughtneil dominated the early exchanges in the middle third and had three points on the board by the 7th minute, through two Paul Bradley frees and a Se McGuigan effort. In Eoghan Rua’s first attack of substance Barry McGoldrick was fouled for Ciaran McGoldrick to tap over the free. Eoghan Rua fans then enjoyed the rare sight of half back Ciaran Lenehan pushing forward to stroke over a neat point to leave just one between the sides by the 11th minute. Slaughtneil continued to dominate around midfield picking up most of the break ball and this was the platform from which they pushed 0-5 to 0-2 ahead by the 20th minute, two more Paul Bradley frees doing the damage.

A Ciaran McGoldrick point from a free reduced the gap but Se McGuigan picked up a loose ball close to the Eoghan Rua 20m line before firing over Slaughtneil’s sixth point. Again it was the accurate Ciaran McGoldrick who kept Coleriane in touch with a point from play following good work in the middle by Niall Holly. Slaughtneil finished the half with a lot of possession but shot three wides before going in 0-6 to 0-4 to the good at the break.

This tie was effectively won within two minutes of the restart when Slaughtneil struck for the only goal of the game. Midfielder Patsy Bradley launched a high ball into the Eoghan Rua goalmouth, in where Michael Kelly gathered but he was dispossessed, the ball falling kindly for Se McGuigan to get a toe-poke on it to scramble to the net putting his side 1-6 to 0-4 ahead. Three further points in quick succession from Se McGuigan (2) and Barry McGuigan had Slaughtneil in a commanding position 1-9 to 0-4 ahead. Eoghan Rua did have a couple of chances as Colm McGoldrick and Niall Holly just failed to find the target. They did rally however midway through the half in their best spell of the game as they hit four points in a row, ciaran McGoldrick on target from three frees while Barry McGoldrick added a fine point from play. There was just a hint that the 2010 champions might stage a remarkable comeback but Slaughtneil had another ace up their sleeve with the introduction of the experienced Jim Kelly six minutes from the end. With his first kick Kelly stroked over a marvellous point and then Karl McKaigue added another in the 60th minute. Three minutes into added time Kelly swept over another finr point just to make sure there was no way back for the Coleraine men. Deserving winners Slaughtneil could take a bit of stopping as the championship moves forward to the latter stages while Eoghan Rua will hope to regroup and plot a pathway through the qualifiers.

Eoghan Rua team: Ryan McGeough; Sean McWilliams, Ciaran Mullan, Ciaran Lagan; Ciaran Lenehan, Sean Leo McGoldrick, Mark McTaggart; Niall Holly, Barry McGoldrick, Sean Paul Henry,  Ciaran McGoldrick, Declan Mullan; Kieran Lagan, Colm McGoldrick, Richard Carey.

Sustitutes used: Conor Carey for M McTaggart, Barry McTaggart for K Lagan, Liam Frizelle for S L McGoldrick.

Eoghan Rua scorers: Ciaran McGoldrick (0-6, 0-4 frees), Barry McGoldrick (0-1), Ciaran Lenehan (0-1), Conor Carey (0-1).

Slaughtneil: Anton McMullan; Conan Cassidy, Chrissy McKaigue, Francis McEldowney; Karl McKaigue, Barry McGuigan, Danny McMullan; Patsy Bradley, Padraig McGuigan; Fergal McEldowney, Paul Bradley, Patrick Cassidy; Christopher Bradley, Michael Kelly, Se McGuigan.

Substitutes used: Jim Kelly for Paul Bradley.

Slaughtneil Se McGuigan 1-2, Paul Bradley 0-4 frees, Jim Kelly 0-2, Chris Bradley 0-2,  Barry McGuigan 0-1, Karl McKaigue (0-1).

© 2014 Eoghan Rua Cúil Raithin CLG