Slaughtneil secure 10 Derry Senior Hurling titles in a row as Kevin Lynch's defeated in Owenbeg
Leadon Timber Frame Derry Senior hurling Championship Final
Slaughtneil 2-18, Kevin Lynch's 1-08
The last time Slaughtneil weren't Derry Senior Hurling champions Barrack Obama had just been re-elected President of the United States for a second term, the Summer Olympics took place in London and Marvel Studios had just released a new movie called, 'The Avengers'.
The year was 2012 but now are Derry kids preparing to leave primary school who think the county hurling championship is an annual presentation to a special group of Slaughtneil players, the likes of which the Oak Leaf county has not seen before.
TEN IN A ROW was finally accomplished to something of an anti-climax on Sunday afternoon, Slaughtneil finding an extra gear to outscore old foes Kevin Lynch's by 2-13 to 1-02 in a second half that became a victory procession for Mickey McShane's own band of heroes who now progress to meet the Down champions in the Ulster semi-final next month.
Of the 2022 vintage, Christopher McKaigue and Se McGuigan have now played in all 10 victories stretching back to the break through year of 2013 when the Emmets defeated Ballinascreen. Plenty has change in the interim years but not Slaughtneil hunger which was tested by an excellent opening half from Lynch's who led 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time.
The caveat to that score was 14 first half Slaughtneil wides but Lynch's deserved their lead, gained through an intensity of play they simply couldn't replicate after the break and the game went away from them after Jerome McGuigan's 45th minute goal.
Lynch's were dealt a major blow only seven minutes in when ace defender Paddy Kelly was forced off injured, to be replaced by Ronan Mullan but if they were unsettled by the reshuffle they didn't show it. With a swirling wind, Lynch's greater intensity was upsetting Slaughtneil's rhythm. The Emmet's had plenty of possession but with Rogers still confined to the bench after the wrist injury which has kept him out of both club codes so far this season, Slaughtneil were making precious little inroads against an excellent Lynch's backline.
That statistic was best illustrated by the first half wide count from the Ulster champions, a figure in stark contrast to the three shot by the Dungiven. Indeed, Lynch's first shot off target did not arrive until the 265th minute of a tactical opening half.
The economy of shot and intensity of defence mean Lynch's turned around at the break with a slender 0-6 to 0-5 lead which included two wonder scores from Conor Kelly. Their more direct approach into Kelly was causing Slaughtneil difficulties despite a sterling first half display from young Slaughtneil sweeper, Ruairi O Mianain.
However, the half-time introduction of Rogers, alongside the impressive Peter McCullagh, saw the tide turn decisively in the champions' favour.
With Shane McGuigan putting in a 'Man of the Match' performance in the half-forward line, McGuigan's 45th minute goal, seizing on a spill close to the Lynch's goal to shoot home off the ground, made it 1-11 to 0-08 and there would be no way back for Lynch's, who were kept scoreless from the 41st minute until Odhran McKeever's superb late goal in stoppage time.
In between, Slaughtneil went through the gears, controlling the game and looking every inch the champions they have been for 10 remarkable years. Rogers capped his impressive second half by cutting in from the right to fire into the net with a few minutes remaining and seal a decade of Derry dominance.
Take a bow Slaughtneil!
Slaughtneil scorers: Jerome McGuigan (1-1), Brendan Rogers (1-1), Cormac O'Doherty (0-6, 5f, 1 '65'), Shea Cassidy (0-2), Karl McKaigue (0-1), Shane McGuigan (0-4), Peter McCullagh (0-2), Ruairi O Mianain (0-1)
Kevin Lynch's scorers: Odhran McKeever (1-1),Richie Mullan (0-3, 3f), Conor Kelly (0-2),Ronan Mullan (0-1), Niall Ferris (0-1),
Slaughtneil: Oisin O'Doherty, Paul McNeil, Conor McAllister, Karl McKaigue, Ruaiai O Mianain, Chrissy McKaigue, Meehaul McGrath, Cormac O'Doherty, Shane McGuigan, Mark McGuigan, Gerald Bradley, Brian Cassidy, Jerome McGuigan, Se McGuigan, Shea Cassidy. (Subs) Brendan Rogers for M McGuigan, HT; Peter McCullagh for Se McGuigan, HT; Jack Cassidy for G Cassidy, 49mins; Eamon Cassidy for B Cassidy, 58mins; Yellow Cards: B Cassidy, 21mins;
Kevin Lynch's: Liam Hinphey, Paddy Kelly, Mark Craig, Niall McNicholl, Niall Ferris, Richie Mullan, Tiarnan McHugh, Thomas Brady, Darragh Mullan, Eoghan Cassidy, John Mullan, Sean Kelly, Odhran McKeever, Conor Kelly, Darragh McGilligan. (Subs) Ronan Mullan for P Kelly (inj), 7mins; Corey O'Reilly for D McGilligan, 39mins; Conor McKelvey for T McHugh (inj),44mins; Pauric McNicholl for D Mullan, 49mins; Tiernan McHugh for T Brady, 51mins; Thomas Brady for T McHugh, 55mins; Yellow Cards: T Brady, 24mins; S Kelly, 30mins;
Referee: Tarlach Conway (Balinascreen)