Kilrea and Slaughtneil will have to do it all again to find out who will face holders Ballinderry in the Senior Football Championship final after an exciting draw at Celtic Park.
Chris Bradley pointed a free in the 58th minute to level the score for Slaughtneil, Charlie Kielt widing a scoring chance with a minute of the three minutes of added time remaining.
Slaughtneil had the better of the early exchanges with three points from Fergal McEldowney, Se McGuigan and Danny McMullan by the 5th minute but Kilrea came back strongly with a James Kielt free, a 10th minute Kieran Og O’Kane goal and a Liam Morrow point to take a 1-2 to 0-3 lead.
By the end of the first half Kilrea had extended their lead to 1-8 to 0-8, with player of the match Lee Kennedy scoring four points, two from frees.
Chris Bradley (3) and Jim Kelly (2) kept Slaughtneil in touch, with Patsy Bradley in top form in the middle of the field.
In the third quarter Slaughtneil took control and hit five unanswered points from Jim Kelly (free) Barry McGuigan, Chris Bradley from a free and open play and Se McGuigan to take a 0-13 to 1-8 advantage by the 44th minute!
Lee Kennedy and James Kielt pointed frees for Kilrea to tie the scores and the sides traded points until Gavan McWilliams levelled the scores once again at 0-15 to 1-12 with five minutes remaining.
In a tense finale James Kielt landed a 55m free to put Kilrea in front but Chris Bradley held his nerve to land an equalising point two minutes from the end of normal time.
After the game Slaughtneil manager Damian Barton said, “It probably was a fair result. We were two points up and they came back. There are things we need to improve on and I’m sure they’ll say the same. It was an exciting enough match in terms of the closeness of it, but we haven’t had a match for three weeks so it’ll not do us a damn bit of harm.
The replay will be at Celtic Park tomorrow evening with a 7.30pm start and extra time in the event of a draw. The Senior County final will now be played on Sunday, October 21st at Celtic Park.
Kilrea scorers: L Kennedy 0-6 (2f), J Kielt 0-4 frees, K Og O’Kane 1-0, L Morrow, James Donaghy, G McWilliams 0-1 each
Slaughtneil scorers: Chris Bradley 0-6 (4f, 0-1 ‘45’), J Kelly 0-3 (1f), Fergal McEldowney 0-2, S McGuigan 0-2, B McGuigan 0-2 and D McMullan 0-1
Kilrea: E McKay; J Morgan, L Morrow, J Darragh; M McWilliams, C Kielt, S McMahon; J Kielt, J Donaghy; G McWilliams, K Og O’Kane, T Rafferty; E Morgan, L Kennedy, P McNeill. (Subs) B Quigg for L Kennedy Blood Sub 31 mins (Reversal 25 mins); A Rainey for J Darragh 43 mins; B McKay for K Og O’Kane, 49 mins; B Quigg for J Donaghy, 51 mins
Slaughtneil: A McMullan; C Cassidy, C McKaigue, Francis McEldowney; K McKaigue, B McGuigan, D McMullan; P Bradley, P McGuigan; Fergal McEldowney, C Bradley, Padrig Kelly; J Kelly, M Kelly, S McGuigan. (Subs) M McEldowney for C Cassidy H-T, S Kelly for P McGuigan, 41 mins; P Kearney for Francis McEldowney Blood Sub, 43 mins (Reversal 47 mins); G Bradley for M Kelly 56 mins; P Kearney for D McMullan, 61 mins
Referee: Dessie Loughery (Limavady)