SLAUGHTNEIL’S REIGN AS Derry and Ulster senior club football champions ground to a halt in dramatic fashion this evening.
Chasing a fifth consecutive Derry crown, they suffered a 1-11 to 0-13 defeat to Eoghan Rua in their quarter-final replay in Owenbeg.
Eoghan Rua completed a superb comeback to set up a semi-final meeting with Ballinascreen. The Coleraine club, whose only senior county title came in 2010, are now one step away from reaching their first final since their narrow loss to Slaughtneil in 2015.
Colm McGoldrick, who finished with 1-5, struck the vital goal in the 43rd minute, sparking a strong finish from Eoghan Rua who held Slaughtneil scoreless from there.
Eoghan Rua’s hopes of exacting revenge looked bleak for the majority of tonight’s first half, however, as they needed 22 minutes to register their first score courtesy of McGoldrick.
Slaughtneil had already opened up a six-point lead by then, with Shane McGuigan, Brian Cassidy and Christopher Bradley all raising white flags twice for the champions.
Eoghan Rua finally sprang to life, although they still trailed by four points at the break, Slaughtneil in the ascendancy on a 0-10 to 0-6 scoreline.
With just over 10 minutes of the second half played, Bradley pointed a ’45 to put Slaughtneil five ahead (0-13 to 0-8). However, it proved to be their final score of the game.
Ruairi Mooney set up Colm McGoldrick to find the net, Niall Holly then reduced the gap to the minimum, before McGoldrick levelled the game with four minutes remaining.
It was another one of the McGoldricks — full-back Liam — who was ultimately the hero. Moments after missing a 35-yard free, he made no mistake with an injury-time effort from play which was enough to dethrone Derry’s dominant champions of the past four years.
Derry SFC semi-finals
Eoghan Rua Coleraine v Ballinascreen
Glen v Lavey
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