Slaughtneil will meet Glen in Derry senior football final as Lavey defeated in Owenbeg

Christopher 'Sammy' Bradley's 55th minute goal was the crucial score as Slaughtneil defeated Lavey to qualify for the 2022 Derry Senior football final.Christopher 'Sammy' Bradley's 55th minute goal was the crucial score as Slaughtneil defeated Lavey to qualify for the 2022 Derry Senior football final.
Christopher 'Sammy' Bradley's 55th minute goal was the crucial score as Slaughtneil defeated Lavey to qualify for the 2022 Derry Senior football final.
O'Neill's Derry Senior Football Championship semi-final

Slaughtneil 2-12, Lavey 2-04

Slaughtneil will meet champions Glen in the 2022 Derry Senior Football final, a re-run of the 2021 decider, after second half goals from Christopher Bradley and substitute Shea Cassidy defeated Lavey at Owenbeg on Sunday.

A dominant second half saw the 2020 champions outscore Lavey by 2-05 to 0-2 to inflict a second semi-final defeat in as many seasons on the Erin's Own who had engineered a 2-02 to 0-07 half-time lead courtesy of goal from Eamon McGill and Niall Toner. That brace was the first goals conceded by Slaughtneil in this year's championship but when question were asked, and they were asked by a Lavey team whose time will undoubtedly come, the Emmet's found a response worthy of the occasion.

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Lavey's clever first half plan game-plan saw Enda Downey, being detailed by Chrissy McKaigue, deliberately take the Derry captain into areas of the pitch where his influence was restricted and the result was space in front of the Slaughtneil full-back line, space that Lavey exploited in the opening half with both their goals.

Paul Bradley's tactical switch at the break saw McKaigue restored to sweeper with Conor McAllister now picking up Enda Downey. The result? Lavey's path to goal suddenly disappeared and the Slaughtneil defence took a grip but it wasn't until Bradley's 55th minute goal that Slaughtneil eventually put any daylight between themselves and Lavey.

And unfortunately for Lavey, it was a goal that was completely avoidable.

Patsy Bradley had just edged Slaughtneil in front with the sort of point that should have Shane McGuigan looking over his shoulder. It put the Emmet's 0-11 to 2-04 ahead but the game was very much still in the mix. In the mix that is until the resulting kick-out which saw Lavey keeper Ciaron O'Boyle look for a short kick to Shea Downey. His intentuions were read by 'Sammy' Bradley who nipped in front of Downey, won the kick and floated a lovely deft finish over O'Boyle and into the empty net.

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In a game of fine margins, a four point lead was always going to be decisive.

Approaching injury time, Lavey had little option but to throw caution to the wind, although rather than spring the towering Cailean O'Boyle from the bench for the final moments, they opted to replace their keeper with corner back Aidan Toner, in the No. 16 jersey but operating out the field with no one in goals.

The move backfired as within seconds of Toner being introduced Slaughtneil won and free which Chrissy McKaigue fired forward. Shane McGuigan rose to flick the dropping ball on for substitute Shea Cassidy to gallop into the open space and roll an easy finish into the unguarded Lavey net.

There was still time for an unseemly melee that ended with Matthew Downey receiving a red card but it was merely a footnotes to a scoreline that didn't reflect how tight the contest had been.

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First half the sides had traded scores until with Slaughtneil 0-3 to 0-2 ahead on 19 minutes, Lavey hit their first goal when Matthew Downey's brilliant ball found Declan Hughes whose centre picked out the run of McGill to fist home for a 1-02 to 0-03 lead.

Slaughtneil responded with a superb Brendan Rogers point but just five minutes after their first goal, Lavey had a second when Niall Toner was afforded far too much room to receive a long pass, turn Paul McNeill and produce a lovely sidefooted finish into the net for 2-02 to 0-04.

Crucially though the last three points of the half belonged to Slaughtneil as Cormac O'Doherty, 'Sammy' Bradley and Se McGuigan wiped out Toner's goal to ensure only the minimum was between them at the break.

The first score of the second period was a beautiful Matthew Downey point but it would be Lavey's last for 20 minutes and in between Slaughtneil began to take a grip as both sides enjoyed periods of prolonged possession waiting for the other to blink first.

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A huge Ruairi O'Mianain point finally put Slaughtneil in front at 0-10 to 2-03 on 45 minutes only for Lavey to rouse themselves with Toner scoring after a lovely team move.

Patsy Bradley's lovely score set restored the advantage but only after Matthew Downey's shot was first given as a point, then changed to a wide. Bradley's point handed Slaughtneil the advantage but it was 'Sammy's' goal that followed which won the game.

And so final every neutral wanted was set. The last two senior champions, last season finalists will do battle on October 23rd. I'd get your tickets early!

Slaughtneil scorers: Shane McGuigan (0-4, 1f), Christopher Bradley (1-2, 1f), Shea Cassidy (1-0), Brendan Rogers (0-1), Cormac O'Doherty (0-1), Se McGuigan (0-1), Jerome McGuigan (0-1), Ruairi O Mianain (0-1), Patsy Bradley (0-1),

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Lavey scorers: Niall Toner (1-1), Eamon McGill (1-0), Matthew Downey (0-2, 1f), Enda Downey (0-1, 1f)

Slaughtneil: Antoin McMullan, Conor McAlister, Christopher McKaigue, Paul McNeill, Brendan Rogers, Karl McKaigue, Keelan Feeney, Patsy Bradley, Jerome McGuigan, Ruairi O Mianian, Shane McGuigan, Padraig Cassidy, Christopher Bradley, Se McGuigan, Cormac O'Doherty. (Subs) Brian Cassidy for Se McGuigan, 38mins; Meehaul McGrath for J McGuigan, 53mins. Yellow Cards: R O Mianain, 55mins; Shea Cassidy for C O'Doherty, 58mins;

Lavey: Ciaron O'Boyle, Hugh McGurk, Conor Mulholland, Jamie Duggan, Eamon McGill, Shea Downey, Patrick McGurk, Kevin O'Neill, Matthew Downey, Niall Toner, Fintan Bradley, Enda Downey, Oran Downey, Declan Hughes, James McGurk. (Subs) Callum Downey for H McGurk, 44mins; Aidan Toner for C O'Boyle, 59mins. Yellow Cards: P McGurk, 55mins. Red Card: M Downey, 63mins;

Referee: Martin McErlane

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