Dunloy, Ballymena

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Swatragh Secure Final Slot


Na Magha defence prepares to face another Swatragh attack.

Na Magha 0-13 Michael Davitt's Swatragh 3-18


Although the city men battled gamely, Swatragh were able to make their experience at a higher level tell as they eased their way into a Leadon Timberframe Derry IHC final meeting with St Colm's Ballinascreen.


Na Magha have endured a tough season off the field and, in a poignant gesture, named the late Aodhán O'Donnell at number 13 on their teamsheet. On the field, the Derry men have made winning a habit in the Antrim ACHL Div 4, still able to clinch the title by winning all their games in hand.


Swatragh had a number of players still smarting from their controversial Derry SFC exit last week at the hands of Glen and were keen to make amends and reach the decider.


It was one of those disappointed footballers from last week, Fintan McGurk, who was in action early, pointing on the run to cancel out an earlier free as Deaglán Foley opened the scoring for Na Magha.


A Ruairí Convery free from 40 yards then saw the Swatragh men take the lead that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game, Sean Marty Quinn adding another before a second Convery free saw Davitt's open up a three-point lead.


Na Magha were battling all over the pitch, but were hit with a sucker punch when a high Aodhán Grant shot deceived Barry Robinson in the Na Magha goal, swerving in the swirling wind and nestling in the Derry men's net to double the Swatragh lead.


A quickfire follow-up from Declan McGuckin split the posts before a Deaglán Foley free lifted the siege for his beleaguered Na Magha side before Barry Robinson atoned for his misjudgement by pulling off a brilliant save to deny Ruairí Convery a certain goal after he slalomed his way through the Derry side's defence.


Na Magha were beginning to create opportunities but struggled on the shot, a lot of their efforts dropping into the excellent Conor O'Kane between the sticks for Swatragh, whose confident hand didn't fail with any of the four that dropped into him in the first half.


Foley slotted his first from play, catching the sliotar and powering it over from distance, before two more frees from the hurl of Convery saw Swatragh extend the gap to eight points.


Diarmuid Shiels then replaced Conor Shiels for Na Magha, much to the latter's disgust, but the change seemed to lift his team, as two more Foley scores and an Alan Grant point wide on the right hand side reduced the gap to five.


Declan McGuckin replied for Davitt's, only for Foley to again drop deep, collect a neat stick pass from Alan Grant and launch a long-range effort between the uprights. It was left to Ruairí Convery to end the half, converting another free midway between the 21 and 45m lines to see his side leading by six points at the break.


An early 65 from Deaglán Foley saw Na Magha again start the half brightly. Swatragh then lost Conor Quinn to injury, with Niall McQuillan his replacement and as play resumed, a further Foley free reduced the deficit to four.


Aodhán Grant slotted the first Swatragh score of the half after ten minutes before the impressive Eoghan O'Kane fed Fintan McGurk to point on the run and restore the six-point gap.


Na Magha then won a free around 30 yards out, from which Deaglán Foley tried his luck with a shot on goal, only to see it turned away by Conor O'Kane for a 65, which Foley did convert.


Ruairí Convery then showed the touch of class that served the county side well for so long, pointing a sideline cut on the right touchline from all of forty yards, before adding a free to see Swatragh lead by seven as the game entered the final seven minutes.


Convery continued his free-taking streak with another simple finish before substitute Seamus McFerran capitalised on a poor Na Magha clearance, collecting a neat hand pass from Declan McGuckin and firing past Robinson to extend their lead to eleven.


OD's Garage Man of the Match Eoghan O'Kane, who worked tirelessly in the Swatragh forward line.

Derry U21 star Eoghan O'Kane then shrugged off two Na Magha challenges to fire over a big score from 50 yards on the run as Swatragh turned the screw on their opponents, with Convery adding another 65 to his total.


Three more frees from the impressive Deaglán Foley followed as the game entered six minutes of stoppage time, owing to the treatment administered to Conor Quinn before he left the field of play.


Seamus McFerran then thought he'd had the final say of the match, catching the sliotar in the Swatragh full-forward line, holding off his man and slotting his second of the game, only for Darren McNicholl to pop up in the last minute and steal his thunder with the final point of the game.


Swatragh's fourteen-point victory sees them seal their passage to the IHC final where they will meet today's hosts St Colm's Ballinascreen, who defeated Eoghan Rua on Saturday. Na Magha will regroup for a JHC decider with the Coleraine men to see who will contest the Ulster series as Derry's Junior representative.


Na Magha: Barry Robinson, Conor McGoran, James McQuillan, Matthew Temple, Mark McShane, Brendan Quigley, Fearghal McAnaney, Tim Rankin, Blaidhan Glass, Conor Shiels, Alan Grant (0-01), Brendan Dougan, Niall McCallion, Thomas Gallagher, Deaglán Foley (0-03, 0-09f)


Michael Davitt's Swatragh: Conor O'Kane, Niall O'Doherty, Malachaí Ó hÁgáin, Mark Cassidy, Eugene McGuckin, Conor Quinn, Cathal Quinn, Sean F Quinn, Sean M Quinn (0-01), Fintan McGurk (0-03), Ruairí Convery (0-01, 0-08f), Eoghan O'Kane (0-01), Joseph Grant, Aodhán Grant (1-01), Declan McGuckin (0-02).


Scoring Substitutes: Seamus McFerran (2-00), Darren McNicholl (0-01).


Referee: Gearóid O'Neill (St Mary's Banagher)


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Today's coverage powered by OD's Garage, Derry.