Ulster Club Hurling Semi-Final: Holders Slaughtneil overpower Dunloy

Brendan Rogers pokes in Slaughtneil's goal after Dunloy keeper Ryan Elliott fumbled a long ball
Brendan Rogers (right) appeared to get the final touch for Slaughtneil's crucial goal late in the first half

Holders Slaughtneil recovered from a slow start to overpower Dunloy 1-18 to 2-8 in an Ulster Club Hurling semi-final watched by over 6,000 spectators.

Nigel Elliott's goal helped Dunloy lead 1-4 to 0-1 but Slaughtneil responded with an unanswered 1-8 as they led 1-10 to 1-5 at the break at Owenbeg.

Brendan Rogers appeared to get the final touch for the goal as he starred along with Cormac O'Doherty.

Paul Shiels hit a late Dunloy goal before a mass brawl broke out.

The outbreak of hostilities appeared to be sparked by Slaughtneil's Chrissy McKaigue having his helmet pulled off and after order was restored, Dunloy's Conal Cunning received a straight red card.

It was an unnecessary bout of unpleasantness as Slaughtneil's victory had long been decided.

Dunloy's strong running early on seemed to be unnerving the holders but Slaughtneil soon took a stranglehold on the game as their physicality began to overwhelm the younger and lighter Cuchullainns side.

McKaigue was to the fore in this regard as he brushed past attempted challenges again and again while the work O'Doherty and Rogers also helped to firmly turn the game in Slaughtneil's favour.

Slaughtneil's Brendan Rogers and Dunloy's Kevin McKeague
Kevin McKeague (right) impressed early on for Dunloy but was less effective after Cormac Doherty was switched on him

Dunloy had never lost in Ulster series

After their impressive Antrim final win over Cushendall, 11-time champions Dunloy went into the game believing they could maintain their record of never having lost in the Ulster series.

That record looked set to be maintained as Elliott's goal and two Shiels frees helped them lead by six points after 12 minutes.

But that was as good as it got for Dunloy as Slaughtneil responded with eight unanswered points over the next 15 minutes before Rogers poked to the net after keeper Ryan Elliott had fumbled a high ball from McKaigue.

The impressive Rogers missed another great goal chance shortly after the resumption but it wasn't to prove a turning point as Dunloy couldn't get any closer than four down in the second period.

Slaughtneil led by 1-13 to 1-6 with 10 minutes remaining as they continued to outmuscle the Antrim champions.

By the end, man of the match O' Doherty had racked up 11 points after a brilliant display both in open play and from placed balls.

The late scores settling was an unfortunate end to which had been the best attended hurling game in Ulster for many years.

Ballygalget outclass Lisbellaw

Ballygalget will be Slaughtneil's opposition in the final in two weeks as they outclassed Fermanagh side Lisbellaw 2-26 to 0-8 at Corrigan Park.

The Down champions stormed into an early 0-11 to 0-1 lead and that was extended to 0-17 to 0-4 by half-time.

Caolan Bailie and Paul McManus hit their second-half goals as Mark Fisher and Cormac Coulter finished as their top scores.

Meanwhile, Cavan Gaels won their 14th Cavan football title as they handed a third successive final defeat to Castlerahan on a 0-14 to 0-8 scoreline.


AIB Ulster Club Hurling Semi-Finals

Slaughtneil 1-18 2-08 Dunloy

Ballygalget 2-26 0-08 Lisbellaw

Bathshack Antrim SFC Semi-Final replay

Cargin 0-21 3-17 St John's

Hotel Kilmore Cavan SFC Final

Castlerahan 0-08 0-13 Cavan Gaels