Slaughtneil 2-18

Kevin Lynch's 1-08

Slaughtneil are 10-in-a-row Derry senior hurling champions after an emphatic second half saw them cruise past Kevin Lynch's at Owenbeg on Sunday afternoon.

Second half goals from Jerome McGuigan and half-time substitute, Brendan Rogers, whose introduction sparked the Emmet's into life, took the game away from a Lynch's side who had led 0-06 to 0-05 at the break.

With Rogers back, Slaughtneil found an extra gear after the break to outscore Lynch's by 2-13 to 1-02 in a second half that became a victory procession for a remarkable group of players, two of which, Chrissy McKaigue and Se McGuigan, have played in all 10 finals.

Lynch's were dealt a major blow only seven minutes in when ace defender Paddy Kelly was forced off injured, to be replaced by Ronan Mullan but if they were unsettled by the reshuffle they didn't show it. With a swirling wind, Lynch's greater intensity was upsetting Slaughtneil's rhythm.

The Emmet's had plenty of possession but with Rogers still confined to the bench after the wrist injury which has kept him out of both club codes so far this season, Slaughtneil were making precious little inroads against an excellent Lynch's backline.

That statistic was best illustrated in 14 first half wides for the Ulster champions, a figure in stark contrast to the three shots by the Dungiven men at the other end. Indeed, Lynch's first shot off target did not arrive until the 26th minute of a tactical opening half.

The economy of shot and intensity of defence mean Lynch's turned around at the break with a slender 0-06 to 0-05 lead and you couldn't say it wasn't deserved. Their more direct approach into Conor Kelly was causing Slaughtneil difficulties despite a sterling first-half display from young Slaughtneil sweeper, Ruairi O Mianain.

The half-time introduction of Rogers, alongside the impressive Peter McCullagh, saw the tide turn decisively in the champions' favour.

With Shane McGuigan putting in a Man of the Match performance in the half-forward line, McGuigan's 45th minute goal, seizing on a spill close to the Lynch's goal to shoot home off the ground, made it 1-11 to 0-08 and there would be no way back for Lynch's who were kept scoreless from the 41st minute until Odhran McKeever's superb late goal in stoppage time.

In between, Slaughtneil went through the gears, controlling the game and looking every inch the champions they are. Rogers capped his impressive second half, cutting in from the right to fire into the net with a few minutes remaining and seal a decade of Derry dominance.

Job done, Slaughtneil will now take on the Down champions as they seek to defend their Ulster title next month.

Slaughtneil: Oisin O'Doherty, Paul McNeil, Conor McAllister, Karl McKaigue, (0-01) Ruaiai O Mianain (0-01), Chrissy McKaigue, Meehaul McGrath, Cormac O'Doherty (0-06, 5f, 1 '65), Shane McGuigan (0-04), Mark McGuigan, Gerald Bradley, Brian Cassidy, Jerome McGuigan (1-01), Se McGuigan, Shea Cassidy (0-02). (Subs) Brendan Rogers (1-01) for M McGuigan, HT; Peter McCullagh (0-02) for Se McGuigan, HT; Jack Cassidy for G Cassidy, 49mins; Eamon Cassidy for B Cassidy, 58mins;

Kevin Lynch's: Liam Hinphey, Paddy Kelly, Mark Craig, Niall McNicholl, Niall Ferris (0-01), Richie Mullan (0-03, 3f), Tiarnan McHugh, Thomas Brady, Darragh Mullan, Eoghan Cassidy, John Mullan, Sean Kelly, Odhran McKeever (1-01), Conor Kelly (0-02), Darragh McGilligan. (Subs) Ronan Mullan (0-01) for P Kelly (inj), 7mins; Corey O'Reilly for D McGilligan, 39mins; Conor McKelvey for T McHugh (inj),44mins; Pauric McNicholl for D Mullan, 49mins; Tiernan McHugh for T Brady, 51mins; Thomas Brady for T McHugh, 55mins.

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Balinascreen)