A rainbow may have broken out in Owenbeg, but there was little gold to be found on the pitch in Sunday's O'Neill's Derry SFC as Ballinderry, Lavey and Slaughtneil ground out wins to reach the competition's Quarter Finals.
A depleted Kilrea team suffered defeat in their 1st Round clash with Ballinderry Shamrocks at Bellaghy as the evergreen Conleith Gilligan kicked 1-03 to lead his team into the Quarter-Finals of the Derry SFC.
Gilligan got the scoring underway in the early stages and as the sides traded attacks, it was the Shamrocks who proved more clinical, tucking away their chances as their opponents laboured, even captain James Kielt failing to find his rhythm as they hit several wides.
Gilligan's second, along with further points from Ryan Bell, Raymond Wilkinson and Daniel McKinless saw Ballinderry lead by five unanswered point before Kielt finally got into his stride and fired over five of his own, including a great effort on the run, to single-handedly drag his side level.
A brace of points from the inspirational Ryan Bell in the minutes that followed ensured that the Shamrocks greeted the whistle two points ahead and looking comfortable.
James Kielt began the second half by raising an immediate white flag, and when Eoghan Rogers swung over a magnificent score on the run, it looked like the Pearse's side were about to mount a comeback, but the lively Matt Quinn was brought down on his way through the Kilrea rearguard and referee Mervyn McAleese awarded the penalty.
Up stepped Conleith Gilligan to fire the ball into the roof of Paul Morgan's net and put the Shamrocks back in the driving seat, a position they never relinquished as further points from Ryan Bell, Gilligan with his third and substitute Michael McIvor saw Ballinderry home, despite a late Kielt consolation for Kilrea.
The Shamrocks now progress to what looks like the tie of the round, a Quarter-Final meeting with Watty Graham's Glen.
Pearse's Kilrea: Paul Morgan, John Darragh, Peadar McLaughlin, Eoghan Rogers (0-01), Daniel Cassidy, Emmett Donaghy, Ruairí McCamphill, Charlie Kielt, James Kielt (c) (0-03, 0-04f), Ruairidh Donaghy, Benny McKay, Eamonn Darragh, Kevin Quinn, Enda McAleese, Paddy McNeill.
Ballinderry Shamrocks: Ben McKinless, Daniel Bateson, Kevin McGuckin, Declan Bell, Darren Lawn, Dillon Fitzpatrick, Raymond Wilson, Conor Nevin (c), Ryan Bell (0-03, 0-01f), Ryan O'Neill, Daniel McKinless (0-01), Matt Quinn, Conleith Gilligan (0-03, 1-00f), Raymond Wilkinson (0-01), Dermot McGuckin.
Scoring Substitutes: Michael McIvor (0-01)
Referee: Mervyn McAleese (St Colm's Drum)
In a game that didn't live up to its illustrious historical billing, Erin's Own did enough to see off the challenge of St Canice's in this Derry SFC Round 1 clash at a wet and windy Owenbeg.
Niall Toner made a blistering start to the game for Lavey, shooting over two points and winning a free for Cailean O'Boyle to convert as Erin's Own surged into the lead, Dungiven only having a Donal McGilligan free to show for their early efforts.
Shea Downey was constantly on the move and his surging runs were causing difficulty for the St Canice's defence and he was the man to open up a two-point lead after points from McGilligan and Conor Murphy had the Dungiven men level at 0-04 apiece, with Cailean O'Boyle notching the other effort from a free and adding one more on the stroke of half time to see his side lead by three at the break.
Lavey had the ball in the net early in the second half, but referee Barry Cassidy denied the huddled crowd the relief of a goal celebration, ruling it out for a square ball, before a Kevin Johnston point hinted at a possible Dungiven revival.
Points from Conor Mulholland and Niall Toner opened up a four-point gap as St Canice's struggled to create chances, carrying the ball into a web of massed Lavey defenders in what many would term the 'scoring zone'.
A late cameo from Ciaron O'Boyle piqued the crowd's interest towards the end of the game, the Lavey goalkeeper adding his eleventh and twelfth points of the season from placed balls either side of a Richie Mullan consolation point to see Erin's Own through to a Quarter-Final meeting with The Loup.
Erin's Own Lavey: Ciaron O'Boyle (0-02f), Aidan Toner, Hugh McGurk, Michael Drumm, Shea Downey (0-01), Eamon McGill, Declan Hughes (0-01), Damian Chivers, Caolan McGurk, Niall Toner (0-03), Colm Dillon, Shane McGill, Caileán O'Boyle (0-03f), Chrissy Henry.
Scoring Substitutes: Conor Mulholland (0-01)
St Canice's Dungiven: Sean McNicholl, Ciaran Mackle, Paddy Kelly, Sean McKeever, James McNicholl, Kevin Johnston (0-01), Stiofan Tracey, Thomas Brady, Mark Craig, Daniel Mullan, Conor Murphy (0-01), Marty Burke, Conor Kelly, Donal McGilligan (0-03f), Fergal Higgins.
Scoring Substitutes: Richie Mullan (0-01)
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Wolfe Tones Bellaghy)
A match that was billed as the best chance for any team to defeat reigning champions Slaughtneil would have petered out into obscurity had it not been for the five-minute spell before half-time.
Playing against the wind and under no pressure from the Magherafelt team who were content to let the champions hold possession, Pádraig Cassidy proceeded to move at walking pace up and down his own 45m line, soloing the ball before eventually engaging in some keep-ball with his Emmet's team-mates until the half-time whistle blew.
At this stage, the Derry and Ulster kingpins led by 0-04 to 0-03 in a first half played in wet, blustery conditions in Owenbeg.
The opening minutes had been lit up by Brian Cassidy, a late replacement for the injured Gerald Bradley, cancelled out John Young's opener for Rossa before Sé McGuigan traded scores with Shane Heavron, before Heavron hit a second free to send his side into the lead.
Cassidy hit his second point to level matters once again, before Shane McGuigan showed quick thinking to put Emmet's into the lead. Having won the free, and facing into a stiff breeze, McGuigan played a quick one-two with a team-mate before swinging the ball over the bar.
A flurry of hits and scrappy play followed before Cassidy embarked on his now infamous solo voyage until referee Damian Harkin sounded the half-time whistle to ironic cheers from the now dwindling support.
Shane McGuigan began the second half by dancing through the Rossa defence to add his second of the evening, before Shane Heavron took the chance to make amends for a glaring first half miss and slotted a score to keep Magherafelt in touch.
Christopher Bradley hit back for Slaughtneil and despite a black card for Keelan Feeney, the champions continued to hold a stranglehold on the game, a further Shane McGuigan point seeing them open up a three-point lead on the league runners-up.
A red card for Pádraig Cassidy, unrelated to his earlier exploits, as those sounding the football death-knell will be disappointed to hear, had little effect on the game as further points from Shane McGuigan and a clinching score from substitute Barry McGuigan came either side of a Heavron free as the Emmet's greeted the final whistle in front of a half-empty Owenbeg stand.
The champions continue their drive for five with a Quarter-Final clash against Eoghan Rua, with fans of high-scoring football advised to proceed with caution to the showdown in a fortnight's time.
O'Donovan Rossa Magherafelt: Odhran Lynch, Guiseppe Lupari, Darren O'Neill, Michael Kerr, Conor McCluskey, Joe Keenan, Michael McEvoy, Jared Monaghan, Fergal Duffin, Simon McErlain, Emmet McGuckin, John Young (0-01), Antone McElhone, Shane Heavron (0-04f), Conor Kearns.
Emmet's Slaughtneil: Antoin McMullan, Paul McNeill, Karl McKaigue, Conor McAllister, Francis McEldowney, Chrissy McKaigue, Keelan Feeney, Patsy Bradley, Pádraig Cassidy, Ronan Bradley, Sé McGuigan (0-01), Meehaul McGrath, Christopher Bradley (0-01), Brian Cassidy (0-02), Shane McGuigan (0-03, 0-02f).
Scoring Substitutes: Barry McGuigan (0-01)
Referee: Damian Harkin (St Mary's Slaughtmanus)
O'Neills SFC Quarter-Final Draw:
St Patrick's the Loup v Erin's Own Lavey
Ballinderry Shamrocks v Watty Graham's Glen
St Oliver Plunkett's Greenlough v St Colm's Ballinascreen
Eoghan Rua Coleraine v Emmet's Slaughtneil