ULSTER CLUB SHC FINAL
Sleacht Néill 0-16
By Michael McMullan
DUNLOY’S ended their wait for a first Ulster title since 2009 on Sunday with victory over champions Sleacht Néill in a blockbuster in Armagh.
It was a victory built on two first half goals, with Nigel Elliott’s strike shooting the Saffron champions five points ahead at the break.
A Gerald Bradley 48th minute point leveled matters (2-9 to 0-15) before Dunloy stormed their way over the finish line.
Brendan Rogers, Gerald Bradley and Cormac O’Doherty (free) had the Emmet’s 0-3 to 0-1 ahead before goalkeeper O’Doherty flicked Aaron Crawford’s long ball to his own net, under pressure from Nigel Elliott, after ten minutes.
At the other end, Ryan Elliott made excellent saves to deny Jerome McGuigan and Brian Cassidy.
Sleacht Néill looked to have weathered the early storm before Elliott finished his second goal in first half stoppage time.
Seaan Elliot had a chance to open a six-point lead, early in the second half but he pulled his shot wide. In the next attack Shane McGuigan injected life into the Emmet’s with a point.
Rogers and O’Doherty added points for a rallying Derry side, but two monster points from Aaron Crawford and Conal Cunning were enough to keep Dunloy from going behind.
With the game hanging in the balance, it was a more clinical Dunloy who hit points from Nigel Elliott, Nicky McKeague and Declan Smyth to seal the title.
The Emmet’s had Meehaul McGrath sent off, on a straight red card, after a stamp on Ryan McGarry,
Dunloy now face St Thomas in the All-Ireland semi-final on the weekend of December 16/17.
Dunloy: Ryan Elliott; Oran Quinn, Ryan McGarry; Kevin Molloy; Aaron Crawford (0-1), Phelim Duffin, Eamon Smyth; Conor Kinsella, Eoin McFerran; Ronan Molloy, Keelan Molloy, Nigel Elliott (1-1); Anton McGrath (0-1), Conal Cunning (0-7, 3f), Seaan Elliott
Subs: Declan Smyth (0-1) for S Elliott (41), Nicky McKeague (0-1) for A McGrath (50), P Shiels for C Kinsella (53)
Yellow cards: P Duffin (37), N Elliott (40)
Sleacht Néill: Oisin O’Doherty; Paul McNeill, Karl McKaigue; Chrissy McKaigue (0-1); Ruairí Ó Mianáin, Conor McAllister, Meehaul McGrath; Shane McGuigan (0-2), Cormac O’Doherty (0-5, 4f, 1 ‘65’); Peter McCullagh, Brian Cassidy (0-1), Gerald Bradley (0-3); Brendan Rogers (0-2), Jerome McGuigan (0-1), Shea Cassidy (0-1)
Sub: Sé McGuigan for P McCullagh (40)
Yellow card: Shane McGuigan (12)
Red card: M McGrath (63)
Referee: Peter Owens (Down)