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Magherafelt players and supporters celebrating a famous Derry SFC Final win.
Magherafelt players and supporters celebrating a famous Derry SFC Final win.

Derry SFC Final: Magherafelt triumph

Derry SFC Final


By Paul McIntyre at Celtic Park

Magherafelt captured their first Derry senior football championship title since 1978 following a one point victory over first time finalists Watty Grahams Glen. It was a tense final but one that the O’Donovan Rossa deserved after a very controlled and disciplined first half showing.

The first half was a slow burner with Magherafelt dropping everyone behind the ball and not letting Glen getting any pace into their game, but a patient build up saw Danny Tallon open the scoring on three minutes for the Watty Grahams. Two minutes later and Glen doubled their lead when Ryan Dougan surged forward and was fouled, allowing Paul Gunning to tap over a simple free.

Magherafelt then enjoyed a great spell and lead by Man of the Match Emmet McGuckin started to dominate midfield and with Shane Heavron in great form in front of goal, the sides were level after 10 minutes at 0-02 a piece.

The games first goal chance came on 11 minutes when Emmet McGuckin played in that man Heavron but Glen defender Oisin Hegarty was on hand to block his goal bound shot before clearing the ball to safety.

Alex Doherty then hit two points in as many minutes for Glen to re-establish their two point lead, but the final 10 minutes of the half belonged to the O’Donovan Rossa.

With Fergal Duffin having a major influence from half back and turning possession over, Magherafelt saw their dominance show on the scoreboard as five unanswered points saw them take a half time lead of 0-09 to 0-05, was many as five of their starting forwards finding the target.

Glen made a promising start to the second half  and had cut the gap to three points by 42nd minute with the Doherty brothers Alex and Jack to the fore.

Glen had a chance to put the game to bed on 43 minutes after Ciaran McFaul fouled Conor Kearns in the square, but Callum Mullan-Young pushed Shane Heavron’s penalty around the post for a 45.

Alex Doherty again brought Glen back into contention but as the game ticked into injury time up stepped for county full forward Emmet McGuckin to seal the deal with a fine score from 30 metres.

Magherafelt did manage to fight off a late Glen surge as points from Tallon and Bradley set the crowd up a big finish, but the Rossa defence stood tall and claim an historic win.

Scorers for Magherafelt: Shane Heavron 0-5 (4fs), Emmet McGuckin 0-3, John Young 0-1, Anton McElhone 0-1, Patrick McLarnon 0-1, Conor McCluskey 0-1

Scorers for Glen: Alex Doherty 0-4, Danny Tallon 0-4, Paul Gunning 0-1 (f), Jack Doherty 0-1, Emmett Bradley 0-01 (f)

MAGHERAFELT: Odhran Lynch, Simon McErlain, Darren O’Neill, Guisseppe Lupari, Conor McCluskey, Fergal Duffin, Conor Kearns, Jared Monaghan, Daniel Heavron (Capt), Patrick McLarnon, Shane Heavron, John Young, Anton McElhone, Cormac Murphy, Emmet McGuckin.

Subs: Michael Lynch for Anton McElhone (46), Declan Martin for Patrick McLarnon (49), Joe Keenan for Guisseppe Lupari (57), Sean Og Monaghan for John Young (59).

GLEN: Callum Mullan-Young, Oran McGill, Ryan Dougan, Oisin Hegarty, Ethan Doherty, Connor Carville, Cathal Mulholland, Ciaran McFaul, Emmett Bradley, Conleth McGuckian, Jack Doherty, Danny Tallon (Capt), Paul Gunning, Alex Doherty, Cahir McCabe.

Subs: Stevie O’Hara for Conleth McGuckin (42). Tiarnan Flanagan for Stevie O’Hara (49), Connlan Bradley for Cahir McCabe (59), John McCamley for Conor Convery (60+3, BC)

REFEREE: J.J. Cleary.

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