Watty Graham's Glen 0-11
O'Donovan Rossa Magherafelt 0-12
O'Donovan Rossa bridged a 41-year gap as they claimed the John McLaughlin Cup with a tense victory over Watty Graham's Glen at Celtic Park this afternoon.
Magherafelt's swift counter-attacking game had given them a four-point half time lead after they broke clear in the last ten minutes of the half, with Odhran Lynch's superb save from Ethan Doherty preserving the gap.
Glen rallied in the second half, with Danny Tallon and Alex Doherty pegging on scores but despite Callum Mullan-Young saving Shane Heavron's penalty, Magherafelt were able to see out the game and are crowned O'Neill's Derry SFC champions.
Rossa retreated immediately from the throw-in but Glen managed to probe and find a way through after 3 minutes when Danny Tallon swung over the opening score. A Paul Gunning free doubled their lead before Shane Heavron hit the first of four frees to open the Magherafelt account.
Heavron's 10th minute free then levelled matters and the centre-forward had a goal-scoring opportunity. His effort beat Mullan-Young but the covering Oisín Hegarty turned it off the line and Glen broke up the field for Alex Doherty to notch his first of the day.
Doherty then doubled his tally with the outside of his left boot before Magherafelt hit back, Paddy McLarnon continuing his record of scoring in every championship match to reduce the gap to one.
Another Heavron free briefly levelled matters but Tallon was in fine form and nudged Glen back in front with a well taken score, before the Watties went close to netting a goal.
Emmett Bradley raced through the middle and slipped the ball into the run of Ethan Doherty, but Rossa netminder Odhran Lynch was out in a flash, smothering the ball and launching a counter attack from which Emmett McGuckin levelled the scores.
Quickfire points from Antone McElhone and John Young saw Rossa turn the screw going into the last ten minutes and a further Shane Heavron brace extended the lead to four points at the break.
Glen responded well in the opening stages of the second half. Danny Tallon fired over within a minute of the restart but a swift Rossa counter ended with Conor McCluskey flashing a shot over the bar to cancel it out.
Alex Doherty and Emmett McGuckin then swapped points before Jack Doherty ran parallel to goal and fired over. Magherafelt were then offered a chance to seal the game when a footblock from Ciaran McFaul resulted in a penalty.
After a long delay, up stepped Shane Heavron but his spot-kick was superbly saved by Callum Mullan-Young, the 'keeper getting down to his left to turn the ball around the post.
McGuckin shot wide from the 45 but the save didn't spur Glen on as they would have hoped. Alex Doherty fired over in the 53rd minute, but Emmett McGuckin responded to raise a roar form the Rossa support.
Tallon then notched his fourth point, burrowing past several Rossa defenders and splitting the posts, before a 61st minute Emmett Bradley free set up a nervy few minutes of stoppage time.
With time ebbing away, referee John Joe Cleary courted controversy as he blew for full time while Ciaran McFaul shaped to shoot.
Glen were incensed as the hordes of celebrating Rossa supporters streamed onto the pitch, but in truth the best team left Celtic Park with the trophy in tow, ending their 41-year famine and setting up an Ulster Quarter-Final meeting with Kilcoo of Down.
Watty Graham's: Callum Mullan-Young, Orán McGill, Ryan Dougan, Oisín Hegarty, Cathal Mulholland, Connor Carville, Ethan Doherty, Ciaran McFaul, Emmett Bradley (0-01f), Conleith McGuckin, Jack Doherty (0-01), Danny Tallon (0-04), Paul Gunning (0-01f), Alex Doherty (0-04), Cahir McCabe.
Subs: Stevie O'Hara for Conleith McGuckin 43', Tiarnan Flanagan for Stevie O'Hara 50', Conor Convery for Paul Gunning 56', Connlan Bradley for Cahir McCabe 60'.
O'Donovan Rossa: Odhran Lynch, Simon McErlain, Darren O'Neill, Guiseppe Lupari, Conor McCluskey (0-01), Fergal Duffin, Conor Kearns, Jared Monaghan, Danny Heavron, Paddy McLarnon (0-01), Shane Heavron (0-01, 0-04f), John Young (0-01), Antone McElhone (0-01), Cormac Murphy, Emmett McGuckin (0-03).
Subs: Michael Lynch for Antone McElhone 47', Declan Martin for Paddy McLarnon 50', Joe Keenan for Guiseppe Lupari 56', Sean Óg Monaghan for John Young 59'.
Referee: John Joe Cleary - St Malachy's Castledawson
Man of the Match: Emmett McGuckin - O'Donovan Rossa.