Faughanvale defeat Slaughtmanus to make it two championship wins from two but 'Vale far from convincing

McFeely Group Derry Intermediate Football Championship, Group A

Friday, 17th September 2021, 10:55 pm
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 10:56 pm
Faughanvale’s Michael Sweeney scores a first half point against Slaughtmanus at Celtic Park on Friday evening. Photo: George Sweeney

Faughanvale 0-12, Slaughtmanus 0-06

Faughanvale made it two Intermediate Championship Group A wins from two thanks to a less than convincing victory over parish rivals, Slaughtmanus who paid the price for passing up three gilt edged goal chances.

With Castledawson edging out Glenullin by one point in the other match in the group, this six point win see Joe Gray's team clear at the top but the 'Vale manager won't be fooled by that statistic. This was far from vintage 'Vale and if they are to harbour expectations of challenging, they will need to improve on this performance.

The Greysteel men always looked the better equipped side in Celtic Park but Slaughtmanus had a point to prove after their opening round defeat and they frustrated their neighbours with a well worked game-plan they could have sprung a shock had they managed to convert either one of two second half goal chances.

Trailing 0-7 to 0-5 with 42 minutes on the clock, the impressive Caolan Hargan combined brilliantly with his strike partner Killian Thornton, the former bursting clear on the return pass before seeing his low shot blocked by the diving save of 'Vale keeper Daryl Moore who was quick off his line to close the angle.

Three minutes later and it was Thornton's turn, to sprint into space, coming in off the right wing. He cold have shot but with the angle closing he elected to try and find Meehaul Brolly who just couldn't connect with the pass in front of an unguarded net.

Either chance would have had the Slaughtmanus in front. Instead they managed just one point point, a late effort from substitute Barry Lyons, by which time a black card for Corrie McMonagle and tiring legs allowed 'Vale, who were able to introduce Kevin Martin off the bench, to take the game away from them.

Both teams were without considerable firepower for what is always a fiercely contested parish derby. 'Vale marksman Martin was only fit enough to be named on the bench after suffering a cut to his leg while Slaughtmanus had to plan without both Conor McGee and talisman Gavin McShane.

The Greysteel men went into the game as favourites and with the benefit of that opening day victory over Castledawson under their belts while Slaughtmanus were off the back foot after a heavier than expected defeat against Glenullin. That 11 point reversal probably played into the planning of St. Mary's manager Darren McShane who set up with the lively inside duo of Hargan and Thornton. Out of possession every other player dropped back inside their own '45 , crowding the 'Vale forwards but ready to spring forward.

It worked well in the opening half, Fauaghanvale consistently being frustrated and forced to shoot from difficult angles as they racked up seven first half wides. In contrast, St. Mary's were more efficient with what possession they had, scoring four points from five shots in the same time.

The difficulty for Slaughtmanus had was the distance they had to cover after winning any turnovers deep in their own half. Even with the pace of Hargan and Thornton and plenty of grass in front of them, it was a big ask to translate such deep turnovers into scores without the link that Gavin McShane would have been tailor made to provide.

'Vale bossed possession, seeking to make the big Celtic Park pitch as wide as possible with the likes of Paddy O'Kane proving plenty of width. Dean Curran was providing a great outlet to but too often the ball was slow coming in to him and his fellow front man Eoin McElhinney.

Indeed it took three lovely scores in the final five minutes of the half to ensure 'Vale went in at half-time with a 0-5 to 0-4 lead they just about deserved on the balance of play.

The teams exchanged early points through Curran and the impressive Hargan but the latter should have hit the net with the first of the Slaughtmanus goal chances. A lovely move saw St. Mary's sweeper Kyle Gallagher break forward to find Thornton who sent Hargan into space but he blasted over the bar from 15 yards.

James Moore edged 'Vale back in front but once again Slaughtmanus responded, this time though Conor Lyons who recycled an under hit Hargan '45' before turning and firing over a lovely score for 0-2 a-piece.

Meehaul Brolly's turnover and break forward led to the free that gave Slaughtmanus the lead for the first time in the game when Eoin Cassidy pointed and when Hargan edged them 0-4 to 0-2 up, it seemed their ambush was working a treat.

Vale though, had other ideas and finally managed to find their range three times in five minutes, Michael Sweeney first to hit the target before two cracking scores from Eoin McElhinney and Dean Curran saw Vale' lead by one at the break.

Sweeney was switched back to full back to keep a second half eye on the dangerous Hargan who grabbed the opening score of the second half from a free to tie the game.

Conleith McGee and Paddy O'Kane (free) pointed before Slaughtmanus' goal chances came and went and with them went their chance of victory.

Kevin Martin showed his class with a point after coming off the bench to stretch the lead to 0-8 to 0-5 by the time Corrie McMonagle's late challenge on the marauding Conor McGuinness' rightly brought a black card and the extra man sealed Slaughtmanus' fate.

Vale were finally able to engineer space and move Slaughtmanus about at will with Paddy O'Kane spring to life with two scores before James Moore and McGee sealed the deal.

Championship games are for winning and 'Vale got the job done but this performance won't do for the bigger challenges that may lie ahead and Gray will now his side have another gear in them

Slaughtmanus were vastly improved and ultimately undone by missed chances and Vale's greater strength in depth but the display of Hargan and Thornton especially suggests better days lie ahead.

Faughanvale scorers: Dean Curran (0-2), James Moore (0-1), Michael Sweeney (0-1), Eoin McElhinney (0-1), Conleith McGee (0-2), Paddy O'Kane (0-3, 2f), Kevin Martin (0-1),

Slaughtmanus scorers: Caolan Hargan (0-3, 1f, 1m), Conor Lyons (0-1), Eoin Cassidy (0-1, 1f), Barry Lyons (0-1)

Faughanvale: Daryl Moore, Sean Butcher, Gordon Fahey, Conor McGuinness, Kyle McGuinness, Shane McElhinney, Conleith McGee, Jordan Curran, Michael Sweeney, Cahal O'Kane, James Moore, Patrick O'Kane, Dean Curran, Eoin McElhinney, Eugene O'Kane. (Subs) Kevin Martin for E O'Kane, 39mins; Mark Crane for S Butcher, 39mins; Conor Murray for D Curran, 50mins; Aaron Cassidy for K McGuinness, 58mins;

Yellow Cards: S McElhinney, 46mins;

Slaughtmanus: Conor Thornton, Corin McMonagle, Jack McConomy, Corrie McMonagle, Mark Duffy, David Quigg, Jude Mullan, John Robertson, Conor Lyons, Christopher Deery, Eoin Cassidy, Meehaul Brolly, Caolan Hargan, Kyle Gallagher, Killian Thornton. (Subs) Shea McConomy for C Deery, 41mins; Connair Molloy for M Brolly, 51mins; Eamon Deery for C McMonagle, 55mins; Barry Lyons for C Lyons, 58mins; Eddie Devine for E Cassidy, 59mins;

Yellow Cards: J Robertson, 40mins; S McConomy, 35mins; C Lyons, 48mins. Black Cards: C McMonagle, 49mins;

Referee: Declan O'Connor