Dunloy, Ballymena

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Seven in a Row for Sleacht Néill


A battle-scarred Chrissy McKaigue picks up the Leadon Timerframe SHC title.

Kevin Lynch Hurling Club 2-12

Eméid Sleacht Néill 1-23


A superb haul of 0-16 from the hurl of Cormac O'Doherty saw Sleacht Néill see off an exhilarating Kevin Lynch's challenge to clinch their 7th Leadon Timberframe SHC title in a row at Owenbeg.


A fortuitous first-half goal from Mark Craig led the fight-back after the champions took the early initiative and a late Odhran McKeever point left the sides level at the break after a breathless opening half.


Tiarnan McHugh blasted to the net in the opening minutes of the second period but just as Lynch's looked like pushing home, a 53rd minute Brendan Rogers goal sparked a late burst as Sleacht Néill turned the screw.


The champions were two to the good after 5 minutes with a Cormac O'Doherty free and Brendan Rogers point before Kevin Lynch's were awarded an early penalty, Sean Cassidy adjudged to have dragged down Tiarnan McHugh.


Richie Mullan tapped the penalty over the bar but a trio of O'Doherty scores from placed balls opened the gap to three before Jerome McGuigan showed sublime touch to take the ball from the sky and split the posts wide on the right.


The game looked in danger of getting away from Kevin Lynch's, but they regrouped and responded. A Niall Ferris point was followed by a brace of Corey O'Reilly frees as they closed the gap to two.


O'Doherty fired over a free in reply before Mark Craig's long ball in to the six-yard box yielded a goal. Tiarnan McHugh's wrestling match with Sean Cassidy appeared to distract Slaughtneil goalkeeper Morgan McEldowney and the ball took a bounce before rolling into the net.


O'Doherty traded points with Sean Kelly before Jerome McGuigan flashed an effort low over the crossbar in the 27th minute. Kelly then drew a foul from his man and allowed O'Reilly to level matters again and there was still time for O'Doherty and Odhran McKeever to trade scores to end a breathless first half.

0-16 from McReynold's Bar Man of the Match Cormac O'Doherty.

The relentless pace of the game continued in the second period, Tiarnan McHugh dipping the ball and hammering it to McEldowney's net to blow the tie open. Man of the Match O'Doherty once again responded but Corey O'Reilly's effort restored the three-point gap.


The accurate half-forward then traded scores with Mark Craig before hitting a further brace of frees to leave the deficit at the minimum, but another O'Reilly free nudged Kevin Lynch's ahead once again.


Lynch's were bristling with belief but Sleacht Néill continued to go about their business methodically and were level again within three minutes, a further brace of O'Doherty frees restoring parity.


Brian Cassidy, a late change to the starting line-up, floated over a score from the left flank after Richie Mullan had missed a chance to give Lynch's the lead and within a minute they had the ball in Brian Lagan's net.


Seán Ó Cáiside won yet another ball in defence and cleared long into the run of Brendan Rogers, who raced away from his man and found the net at the second attempt after an attempted hook in the Lynch's defence.


The north Derry side once again went to the well, Richie Mullan finding his range with a brace of frees, but Cormac O'Doherty's 58th minute free sparked a late burst that finally killed off the Lynch's challenge.


Quickfire points for O'Doherty and Brian Cassidy left them reeling and a 60th minute red card for Liam Óg Hinphey following a second yellow and late scores from Karl McKaigue and Brendan Rogers pushed them over the line.


Another outstanding tussle between Kevin Lynch's and Sleacht Néill in Owenbeg, but the Lynch's wait goes on as Emmet's seal their seventh title in a row and set up an Ulster Semi-Final meeting with Middletown of Armagh.

Kevin Lynch HC: Brian Lagan, Niall Smyth, Patrick Kelly, Conor Kelly, John Mullan, Mark Craig (1-01), Liam Óg Hinphey, Eoghan Cassidy, Thomas Brady, Kevin Hinphey, Niall Ferris (0-01), Corey O'Reilly (0-03f, 0-01), Odhran McKeever (0-01), Tiarnan McHugh (1-00), Richie Mullan (0-03f).


Subs: Patrick Kelly (0-01) for Kevin Hinphey 22', Liam Millar for Odhran McKeever 45', Ciaran Mackle for Corey O'Reilly 48'.


Sleacht Néill: Morgan McEldowney, Karl McKaigue (0-01), Sean Cassidy, Michael McEldowney, Shane McGuigan, Seán Ó Cáiside, Meehaul McGrath, Brian Cassidy (0-02), Chrissy McKaigue, Mark McGuigan, Cormac O'Doherty (0-02, 0-14f), Gerald Bradley, Sé McGuigan, Jerome McGuigan (0-02), Brendan Rodgers (1-02).


Subs: Conor McAllister for Jerome McGuigan 48', Peadar Kearney for Chrissy McKaigue 54' (Blood Sub - reversed 55'), Peadar Kearney for Michael McEldowney 56'.


Referee: Tarlach Conway - St Colm's Ballinascreen


Man of the Match: Cormac O'Doherty - Eméid Sleacht Néill