Slaughtneil captain Cormac O'Doherty plays down injury concerns after NINTH successive championship title
Captain Cormac O'Doherty has played down injury fears after being forced off during the latter stages of Slaughtneil's record ninth Derry Senior Championship final victory in a row.
The Oak Leaf county captain, who left Owenbeg with his arm in a sling, was forced off two minutes before the end of the Emmet's 1-17 to 2-09 win against Kevin Lynch's but it didn't stop him from accepting the Fr. Collins Cup which has now rested in Emmet Park for the best part of a decade.
Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane revealed his O'Doherty was heading to hospital following the presentation to determine the extent of the shoulder injury but O'Doherty himself insisted it was purely precautionary.
"I went down on it and it is precautionary but I'll go and see how it is," he explained, "It feels fine there but it's precautionary so hopefully it is alright."
Prior to the injury, O'Doherty was once again instrumental in Slaughtneil's victory, helping himself to seven frees but he admitted Kevin Lynch's them worried in a very tight second half.
"We had a good first half and got 11 in front but were probably a bit disappointed because we had a couple of goal chances and maybe a few point chances missed," insisted O'Doherty.
"We were happy at half-time but, look, Kevin Lynch's threw everything at us in that second half. They got a couple of goals at the right time and put us under pressure so it was great to grind out the victory there in the end.
"You get used to journalists writing teams off, it goes on every year but if you go back through the years we have played them, it's never been a hammering match, it has never been a walkover, so we knew what to expect coming here and it turned out that way. It was a battle from the start to the end and we juts got across the line at the end."
The Slaughtneil captain admitted they had been forced to dig deep by the Lynch's fightback but said that only served to prove that the hunger that still exists within the Emmet's camp.
"We showed in the second half that the hunger is still there. A county title is nothing to take for granted at any time. Slaughtneil for a long time fought and didn't win any. We won a couple in the 90s but the hunger in the group, you could see it in the second half when the chips were down. We stood up and men were counted, men who maybe don't normally stand up, boys coming through so the group is just getting stronger. Nine in a row is an unbelievable achievement."
Despite another Ulster Championship campaign now being on the horizon in the form of a clash with Antrim champions, Dunloy, O'Doherty had more immediate concerns ahead of next weekend football semi-final against Lavey.
"It is good to get back to it (the Ulster Championship). Obviously it didn't happen last year so it's good to get back and give it another go but the focus now turns to football and Lavey next week with so many of the boys involved. Winning breeds winning and hopefully that continues next week."