Slaughtneil 0-07 Glen 1-13
Watty Graham's Glen are the Derry senior football champions for the first time after dethroning reigning champions Slaughtneil in front of 7, 435 spectators in Celtic Park on Sunday.
Malachy O'Rourke's team had breezed through to the final but were expected to face stiff competition against modern kingpins Slaughtneil. Instead they simply reaffirmed their dominance to win with plenty to spare.
Despite Slaughtneil having won five of the previous seven Derry county titles, it was Glen who started with the look of seasoned championship winners as they went in search of that elusive first John McLaughlin Cup.
With McFaul reveling in the 'quarterback' role, the first half was one of the most one sided witnessed in a county final as Glen cantered to a 1-06 to 0-01 lead, Tallon's late goal was just reward for a hugely impressive opening 30 minutes from Malachy O'Rourke's men.
All over the pitch they were winning their individual battles with powerful, purposeful running, punching holes in a normally miserly Slaughtneil backline. Emmet's dangerman Shane McGuigan was being shadowed by Ryan Dougan but his lack of support meant Glen sweeper Michael Warnock was able to double up on the Derry forward and completely negate his first half contribution.
Three shots was all the reigning champions managed, two of those flying wide and only Brendan Rogers' 20th minute point to show for 31 minutes of football.
GLEN ARE DERRY SENIOR CHAMPIONS! A first ever @ONeills1918 #DerrySFC for @WattyGrahamsGAA.— Derry GAA (@Doiregaa) November 7, 2021
FT Glen 1-13 Slaughtneil 0-07. pic.twitter.com/MOv2w3Z9hD
At the other end, Ethan Doherty was causing havoc, drawing a yellow card from marker Meehaul McGrath who was struggling to keep up with the jet heeled half forward. All the while McFaul was the attacking base on which Glen's championship bid was being built and he didn't let them down, hitting three high quality point from play before the short whistle.
All over the pitch, Glen were in control and that 31st minute Tallon goal put the seal on an emphatic half had more than one hand on the cup.
Conor Glass was the architect, chasing an over-hit hand pass and reaching just it time to flick it through to Tallon whose dart inside was timed perfectly to allow him to tap home a lovely finish for a richly deserved eight point interval lead.
Slaughtneil switched Chrissy McKaigue to midfield for the second period, with Padraig Cassidy moved into the half-forwards and it certainly made the Emmet's more competitive with a second target inside.
It never looked like being enough though and even the improved Slaughtneil performance barely registered as Glen cruised.
Slaughtneil did have a sniff of a goal four minutes after the break when Shane McGuigan found Paudie Cassidy but rather than shoot, Cassidy tried to find Brian Cassidy at the back post and Michael Warnock, as he had been all day, was in the right place to clear.
It was as close as Slaughtneil ever got. A 43rd minutes black card for Fionnbarr McGuigan compounded a day to forget for Slaughtneil. They have been worthy champions but this felt like a changing of the guard.
It has taken Glen a long time to reach the promised land of Derry senior championship winners but on the evidence of 2021, they won't be leaving it any time soon.
Slaughtneil: Antoin McMullan, Paul McNeill, Brendan Rogers (0-01), Karl McKaigue, Fionnbharr McGuigan, Christopher McKaigue, Keelan Feeney, Patsy Bradley, Padraig Cassidy (0-01), Gerald Bradley, Ronan Bradley, Meehaul McGrath, Christopher Bradley (0-03, 2f), Shane McGuigan (0-01, 1m), Brian Cassidy.
Subs: Conor McAllister for R Bradley (26), Se McGuigan for G Bradley (35), Sean Cassidy for F McGuigan (55), Mark McGuigan for P Cassidy (56).
Watty Grahams: Conlan Bradley, Michael Warnock, Ryan Dougan, Connor Carville (0-01), Tiarnan Flanagan, Ciaran McFaul (0-03), Ethan Doherty, Conor Glass (0-03, 1f), Emmet Bradley (0-02, 2f), Eunan Mulholland, Jack Doherty (0-01), Conor Convery, Paul Gunning (0-01, 1f), Danny Tallon (1-02, 2f), Conleth McGuckian.
Subs: Conor McDevitt for E Mulholland (43), Stevie O'Hara for P Gunning (54) Alex Doherty for C Convery (54).
Referee: Sean Curran (Faughanvale)