Ulster SFC final report

Slaughtneil eased to victory over Cavan Gaels in Sunday’s football final to clinch a second straight treble of Ulster senior club titles.

It was a dominant display by the Derry side and they led 0-7 to 0-4 at the break despite wasteful finishing.

A blistering start to the second half saw Slaughtneil fire over three points before a Shane McGuigan goal.

Cavan Gaels rarely threatened and Slaughtneil will now meet Nemo Rangers in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Slaughtneil had already retained the provincial hurling and camogie titles this season and they were deserved winners of the football crown at the Athletic Grounds.

Cavan went close to an early goal when Paul O’Connor’s close-range shot was saved by keeper Antoin McMullan.

Missed opportunities

But chances were limited for Cavan and at the other end Slaughtneil moved into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead and the gap should have been greater.

Ronan Bradley sliced wide when clear on goal and other opportunities were squandered by the usually clinical Derry men.

Cavan popped over the last three points of the first half but Slaughtneil responded on the restart with three of their own before the game’s only goal.

It was a wonderful team move, started by Brendan Rogers moving out of defence and ending with a low strike into the net from the impressive McGuigan, who finished with a tally of 1-6.

The Breffni team hinted at a comeback and a possible first Ulster title by firing over four points without reply, including two Seanie Johnston frees, to leave it 1-10 to 0-8.

Cruise control

Their hopes were quickly snuffed out as Slaughtneil regained control and cruised to the final whistle and a third football title in four years, although it was without the black-carded Francis McEldowney.

“It’s fantastic and feels great – this one’s to be enjoyed,” said delighted Slaughtneil defender Rogers.

“We missed a lot of chances in the first half but we kept calm and held out in the second half.

“To do back-to-back trebles is something to savour but it’s all done through hard work.”

Cavan Gaels also lost the 1977 decider and the county still awaits a first Ulster senior club football success.

“It’s hard to take – we came her in great form and in high spirits but it didn’t go to plan,” said Gaels manager Jason O’Reilly.

“They were better than us and worthy winners and you are probably looking at the All-Ireland champions.”

(BBC Sport)

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