Lavey 3-07, Slaughtneil 1-11
Reigning champions Slaughtneil will have go the longer route if they are to retain their title and that could be easier said than done given the strength of the teams that will be taking the same route.
Slaughtneil manager John Joe Kearney suggested after the game that Lavey showed greater hunger and probably deserved to win.
Lavey conceded an early goal to Sé McGuigan-the first score of the game after five minutes-and were always chasing the game for the rest of the first half.
But they did not let their heads drop and were back on level terms with Niall Toner goal after twelve minutes at 1-01 each.
They suffered another ‘body blow’ in the 13th minute when one of their top scoring forwards Anthony McGurk was sent off on a ‘black card’ but such set-backs only seemed to galvanise them as twice more they were level before Slaughtneil landed two points before the break to lead 1-05 to 1-03.
In the 42nd minute Caolan McGurk swung the ball high into the goalmouth where an aerial tussle saw Barry McGuigan foul Cailean O’Boyle and the referee correctly indicated a penalty which O’Boyle clinically converted for 2-05 to 1-07.
Back came the Emmet’s for Chrissy McKaigue to level the score and Christopher Bradley to put them back in front.
The latter missed a free but the former put two between the sides in the 51st minute. Niall Toner and Christopher Bradley exchanged scores as the game edged towards the final minutes.
Then came the surging run from Niall Toner and the slick finish by Cailean O’Boyle for what proved the winning score.
Lavey: Ciaran O’Boyle; Peter Scullion, Shane Lagan, Colm Dillon; Caolan McGurk (0-1), Michael Drumm, Sam Dodds; Kevin Rafferty, Kevin O’Neill; Niall Toner (1-1), Christopher Henry, Eamon McGill; James McQuade, Anthony McGurk, Cailean O’Boyle (2-5, 3f, 1pen). (Subs) Colm Murphy for A McGurk (Black Card) 13 mins; Ryan Farren for S Dodds 38 mins; Liam Murphy for J McQuade 45 mins; Sean Conway for Kevin O’Neill (Black Card) 61 mins
Slaughtneil: Anton McMullan; Francis McEldowney, Brendan Rogers, Karl McKaigue; Conan Cassidy, Chrissy McKaigue (0-2), Barry McGuigan; Padraig Cassidy, Paudie McGuigan; Padrig Kelly (0-1), Christopher Bradley (0-4, 1 forty-five), Ronan Bradley (0-1); Se McGuigan (1-0), Paul Bradley (0-2, 1f), Cormac O’Doherty (0-1). (Subs) Paul McNeill for B McGuigan 42 mins