First half blitz wins Cup for Slaughtmanus

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Slaughtmanus 0-12

Limavady 0-08

Before a good sized crowd at Sarsfield Park, Ballerin these two sides served up an entertaining hour’s football, Slaughtmanus emerging victorious, a four point burst in the last nine minutes of the fist half the decisive period in the game.

In the opening 20 minutes the Wolfhounds looked the sharper team, with Liam O’Kane driving them forward from wing back, Dessie Loughery and Daibheid McIvor dropping deep to ferry the ball from back to front.

Yet for all their industry they lacked a cutting edge with only teenager Loughery, who finished with 0-03, getting a return for his non-stop running and support play.

Having played against a strong wind that blew straight down the pitch Slaughtmanus took control of the game in the closing minutes of the first half with Gavan McShane punishing some careless tackling that correctly brought a succession of frees.

He scored 0-05 in the first half and that defensive indiscipline proved costly as Limavady were never able to bridge that four point gap in the second half.

However the Wolfhounds did not throw enough players into the attacking zone in the second half, when faced by a four point deficit but backed by a stiff breeze.

Conor Forrest was isolated up front in his battle with Barry Lyons, an alert Slaughtmanus defence picking off nearly all loose balls as Limavady were limited to four points in sporadic raids.

For all that Slaughtmanus had to work very hard to keep Limavady at bay as manager Christopher Cooke acknowledged.

“There was four points in it in the end but really there was never more than a kick of the ball between the two teams,” conceded Cooke.

“Our defence has been going well and again they played well in the first half. They were very disciplined. In the first half none of the backs gave away a free in the scoring zone. We have been working hard on our defence and it paid dividends. Barry Lyons did a very good job at full back.”

When it was suggested they dropped a couple of forwards back and defended deep with a hint of Donegal influence (Donegal man Daithi McGinley coaches them!) Cooke remarked “We have been working hard on our defence. That’s the way the game has gone. It seems now you need to get as many players as possible behind the ball and then be able to get to the other end as quickly as possible when they attack from deep. Every team in Division 2 is playing this system.

When asked about their goals for the season he was forthright in his response.

“We don’t honestly think that we’re ready to go up to Division 1 but we’re going to try and win every match and let the players improve as they go along. Their fitness will improve, their ball skills will improve and their communication on the field will improve and we’ll see where it takes us.

“There is a lot of commitment needed to play football now, with players working away from home or coming straight from work to training in the evening. It’s a huge commitment,” he added.

Slaughtmanus: Ronan Cooke; Ryan Cooke, Barry Lyons, Barry Cooke; David Quigg, Cahir Cooke (0-1), Fergal Hargan (0-1); John Robertson, Ian Doherty; Chris Deery, Darren McShane, Ciaran Barr; Kevin King (0-1), Brian Duddy, Gavan McShane (0-5, 5f). (Subs) Ryan Barr (0-2) for D McShane H-T; Adie O’Kane (0-1) for C Barr, 40 mins; Cathal Deery for C Deery 55 mins

Limavady: Phelim Mullan; Michael McVeigh, Rory O’Kane, Chris Hunter; Liam O’Kane, Conor Boyd, Niall McKeever; Rory Mailey, Sean Forrest (0-1); James Thompson, Richard King (0-02, 0-01 ‘45’, 1f), Dessie Loughery (0-3); Daibheid McIvor (0-1), Conor Forrest, Declan Logue (0-1). (Subs) Eoghan Rodgers for R King 50 mins; Michael Higgins for D Loughery (Blood Substitution) 56 mins.

Referee: Brendan Quinn (Ballinascreen)