Watty Graham's Glen 1-06 Erin's Own Lavey 2-11
Erin's Own ended a twenty-year wait to seal a place in the O'Neill's Derry SFC Final as two second half goals saw off a disappointing Glen challenge at a blustery Owenbeg on Sunday afternoon.
The Watty Graham's were reduced to fourteen men in the latter stages of the match with Connor Carville dismissed for a second yellow card, but by that stage, the game was beyond Glen, who started the encounter fired up for the occasion.
Glen managed just 0-04 in the first half and despite the wind advantage in the second, could only add 1-02 to their total as Lavey produced a defensive masterclass to keep them out, while scoring two excellent goals of their own through Declan Hughes and Eamon McGill.
In attack for Lavey, Kevin O'Neill was preferred to Caileán O'Boyle, his 0-03 salvo in the replay against The Loup proving enough to retain his position for this match, while Damian Chivers also returned to the starting line up in midfield. Glen on the other hand made only one change from the side that defeated Ballinderry Shamrocks, with Conor Convery coming in for Cathal Mulholland.
Corner forward Jack Doherty opened the scoring wide on the right hand side as Glen made a flying start to the match into the face of a strong breeze, but Lavey hit back almost immediately, Niall Toner racing through after Erin's Own latched onto a slack Ciaran McFaul pass in midfield to break for the score.
Toner, who was superb in the Quarter-Final replay, continued his rich vein of form with a further brace of points, cutting across goal to swing over his second before he ended a sweeping move for his third after Jack Doherty coughed up possession in the Glen forward line.
Erin's Own netminder Ciaron O'Boyle then landed his first point of the day, firing over a free from 55 yards to open up a three-point gap on Glen, before Danny Tallon tapped over one of his own to reduce it to two after a pull on Jack Doherty.
Anthony McGurk then landed a big wind-assisted score from over fifty yards out, the effort glancing the inside of the right hand post on its way over the crossbar. Niall Toner continued to cause the Watty Graham's defence problems, his movement and skill forcing Oisín Hegarty to foul him and McGurk applied the finish for his second of the day to leave Lavey leading by four.
McGurk then almost turned provider, his perfectly weighted ball falling into the arms of Shane McGill, only for the half-forward to spill it as he bore down on goal. Glen were then dealt a blow as they lost Oisín Hegarty to injury, with Connor Carville having to drop in to mark Toner.
An injury-time point from Stephen O'Hara then saw his side ending the half trailing Erin's Own by four points with the wind advantage to come in the second half.
Within fourteen seconds of the restart, Ciaran McFaul cut the deficit to three, but in the moments that followed they seemed overly eager to take advantage of the wind, hitting three wides as their shooting boots deserted them in front of the posts.
A foul on Niall Toner saw Carville pick up his first yellow card and Ciaron O'Boyle kicked the free into the strong breeze and over the bar from 40 yards to restore the four-point gap before Lavey threatened the Glen goal for the first time, Callum Mullan-Young having to turn away a Caileán O'Boyle effort as the full-forward looked to make up for lost time after being brought in for Kevin O'Neill.
Minutes later though Mullan-Young was picking the ball out of his net, Declan Hughes showing good industry to collect a Caileán O'Boyle 45 and beat two men before dispatching an excellent finish to the top right corner of the Glen net and leave them a seven-point mountain to climb. A further Carville foul allowed Ciaron O'Boyle to hit his third point of the game, before Michael Warnock lifted the siege with a Glen's first score of the second half.
Disciplined Lavey defence was making things difficult for Glen and their task became even more onerous with Eamon McGill firing home the second Erin's Own goal of the afternoon, collecting a neat hand pass from Caileán O'Boyle and finishing to an empty net with Mullan-Young committed to O'Boyle.
To compound their misery, Glen then lost Connor Carville to a red card, a foul on Anthony McGurk sealing his fate as Caileán O'Boyle tapped over the free to see his side take an eleven-point lead into the final two minutes of the game.
Jack Doherty responded as Glen went in search of consolation, and as they began to rain high balls into the Lavey box, the finally yielded, Emmett Bradley fielding the ball and squeezing it past Ciaron O'Boyle, who got a strong hand to it but was unable to keep it out.
Niall Toner had the final say, taking a short Caileán O'Boyle free and swinging over to see Erin's Own reach their first John McLaughlin Cup final since 1998, where they will face Eoghan Rua in a novel pairing as far as recent years go.
Watty Graham's Glen: Callum Mullan-Young, Oran McGill, Ryan Dougan, Oisín Hegarty (Tiarnan Flanagan), Cahir McCabe, Connor Carville, Philip O'Connell, Conor McDevitt (Eunan Mulholland), Ciaran McFaul (0-01), Michael Warnock (0-01), Emmett Bradley (1-00), Conor Convery (Connlan Bradley), Stephen O'Hara (0-01) , Danny Tallon (0-01f) (John McCamley), Jack Doherty (0-02).
Erin's Own Lavey: Ciaron O'Boyle (0-03f), Aidan Toner, Shane Lagan, Colm Dillon (Colm Murphy), Michael Drumm, Conor Mulholland, Eamon McGill (1-00), Damian Chivers, Caolan McGurk, Shane McGill (Thomas Donnelly), Niall Toner (0-04), Anthony McGurk (0-01, 0-01f) (Fintan Bradley), Chrissy Henry, Kevin O'Neill (0-01) (Caileán O'Boyle , 0-01f), Declan Hughes (1-00).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Wolfe Tones Bellaghy)