Slaughtneil 1-23 Kevin Lynch's 2-12

Slaughtneil made it seven Derry senior hurling titles in a row after overcoming Kevin Lynch's in a gripping final in front of 3,574 in Owenbeg.

The decider swung one way then the other, before the 2017 Ulster champions eventually edged clear in the final minutes thanks largely to the imperious free taking of Cormac O'Doherty, who finished with am amazing  0-16, 14 of which were from placed balls.

Brendan Rogers' 53rd-minute goal was the game's critical score, the dual star showing superb pace along the right side before cutting in and finishing at the second time of asking after miscuing with his initial effort.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of a Kevin Lynch's side that had battled back from a slow start to lead until the 49th minute with the winning margin of eight points disguising a much closer game between two evenly matched sides.

Reigning champions, Slaughtneil, started in style, building 0-6 to 0-1 lead with Oak Leaf county star O'Doherty lethal on his way to a first half tally of 0-07.

Kevin Lynch's hadn't got a foothold in the game but this was a half of two quarters and the second belonged to the Dungiven men, whose route-one approach to Tiernan McHugh caused Slaughtneil trouble all afternoon.

The was a fightback inspired by Mark Craig's rather fortunate 20th-minute goal. Craig's shot was little more than a long, hopeful ball forward but the heavy pitch produced only a slight bounce, which deceived everyone and resulted in the ball hitting the back of the Emmet's net.

The goal tied the game at 0-7 to 1-04 and had Lynch's believing that an upset was possible, which was in stark contrast to an opening quarter in which everything Slaughtneil touched had turned to points.

An O'Doherty free got them off and running before a flowing move ended with Brendan Rogers scoring a fine second.

Lynch's were presented with the perfect opportunity to get off the mark on five minutes when Cassidy hauled Lynch's full-forward McHugh down and referee Tarlach Conway signalled a penalty. Up stepped Richie Mullan but his effort cleared the bar by inches.

However, Niall Ferris score a peach from his own '65'  before Corey O'Reilly began to find his range from frees with two of his own for 0-7 to 0-4.

The goal changed the momentum of the half, Sean Kelly's introduction off the bench for Kevin Hinphey giving Lynch's an added attacking dimension as he hit two fine scores in the final seven minutes of a half that ended with the team level at 0-10 to 1-07

If the second quarter belonged to Lynch's, the third was even better as McHugh found the net within 20 seconds of the restart, the big front man bursting through on to a loose ball before firing a low shot that squirmed under Morgan McEldowney.

That provided a three point lead at 2-07 to 0-10 and Lynch's were well worth it with only O'Doherty's free taking keeping the champions in touch.

Slowly but surely, however, O'Doherty edged his side back into the game, levelling with 11 minutes left before Brian Cassidy's point, after Lynch's Niall Smyth appeared to be fouled, saw them hit the front with a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Rogers' goal gave them breathing space and even though Richie Mullan brought the deficit back to two at 1-17 to 2-12, Slaughtneil finished the stronger as Lynch's lost Liam Og Hinphey to a second booking in injury-time. 

By that stage the game was gone and Slaughtneil were celebrating. After a succession of comfortable finals, this was anything but and the scenes at the end illustrated what it meant with the Derry champions, who now look forward to an Ulster date with Armagh champions, Midleton.

Slaughtneil scorers: Cormac O'Doherty (0-16, 14f), Brendan Rogers (1-2), Jerome McGuigan (0-2), Brian Cassidy (0-2), Karl McKaigue (0-1), 

Kevin Lynch's scorers: Tiarnan McHugh (1-0), Mark Craig (1-1), Richie Mullan (0-3, 2f, 1pen), Niall Ferris (0-1), Corey O'Reilly (0-5, 4f), Sean Kelly (0-1), Odhran McKeever (0-1)

Slaughtneil: Morgan McEldowney; Karl McKaigue, Sean Cassidy, Michael McEldowney; Shane McGuigan Sean O Caiside, Meehaul McGrath; Gerald Bradley, Christopher McKaigue; Mark McGuigan, Cormac O'Doherty, Brian Cassidy; Se McGuigan, Jerome McGuigan, Brendan Rodgers.

(Subs) Conor McAllister for J McGuigan, 48mins; Peadar Kearney for C McKaigue (blood sub), 54mins (reversed 54mins); Peadar Kearney for M CMEldowney, 56mins;

Kevin Lynch's: Brian Lagan; Niall Smyth, Patrick Kelly, Conor Kelly; John Mullan, Mark Craig, Liam Og Hinphey; Eoghan Cassidy, Thomas Brady; Kevin Hinphey, Niall Ferris, Corey O'Reilly; Odhran McKeever, Tiarnan McHugh, Richie Mullan.

(Subs) Sean Kelly for K Hinphey, 21mins; Padraig O'Kane for O McKeever, 45mins;  Ciaran Mackle for C O'Reilly, 47mins; 

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Ballinascreen)