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Anyone objectively considering how that panned out to Slaughtneil; three factors to the great at half-time, two competitions dismissed in the first five minutes of the moment, a penalty saved by their goalkeeper, a punishment carried by these…

And still to lose it?

You would have to think they will not have a greater chance.

However, the cause endures for director Michael McShane, that promised afterwards that, “We’ve improved from this past year. Our performance today was a good deal better than it had been against Cuala this past year.

“What they have got to do is come back next year with the same steel and fix to keep going at it.

“To prevent knocking on this door until they break it down and I do believe in this group. The age profile is great. This group is far from the summit.”

The fear of Slaughtneil was that they wouldn’t have enough hurling completed, having to balance their football exertions. All the noises out of the camp suggested they’d corrected that, enjoying with a Tipperary group and assorted Carlow outfits.

Perhaps aware of what exactly the Munster champions had achieved to a different Ulster club in maroon – Ruairi Óg Cushendall in the All-Ireland final a couple years back – Slaughtneil made several tactical alterations.

Chrissy McKaigue lay much deeper into frustrate David Breen along with the aerial capability of Gerald Bradley was utilized occasionally close to goal.

The two Breens were removed scoreless, which suggests they certainly needed the guys to cope with key threats.

They had their initial target when Cormac O’Doherty murdered the penalty won when Brendan Rogers had been hauled into the ground. The next has been courtesy of Rogers setting up Brian Cassidy only a moment after Conor Boylan had severed one back to the Limerick city guys.

However, Shane Dowling’s debut at that time was the critical element. He replaced the ineffective Adrian Breen and some ball that came his way that he worked wonders with.

Manager Shane O’Neill believed Na Piarsaigh needed to blow off a few filthy diesel out of the tank following the lay-off.

“Together with our lads when they don’t have matches we’re slightly off the pace and you may observe that in the first half and it was exactly the same with the Munster final playing against Blackrock but it had been this easy game for us so we were not really analyzed, then the 12 week break,” he began.

“We clearly dealt with this a whole lot less than they’d done.

“Interestingly although the chances were so contrary to Slaughtneil we had been speaking as a management group during the week and we believed we would want 19 or 20 players there today and that actually showed for a variety of reasons we expected to use them and we needed each of the boys.”

They’d already wrestled back the lead if a Dowling pass put Kevin Downes in for a target on 41 minutes.

Regardless of the numerical edge, Slaughtneil began to tire as the little flashes of Dowling’s brilliance, married with the sheer wearing impact that Ronan Lynch had been having from the set chunk, cut them out of the competition.

He struck 14 points in complete, leaving Slaughtneil free of leniency about the ‘half-foul’ that some teams have as a stock in trade in hurling.

Their sway shrunk until they had been only hanging, Gerald Bradley’s late goal surely enhancing the scoreboard, but McShane believes there’s more to come.

“The year after we dropped to Cushendall in extra-time (of those 2015 Ulster final), we had a fix that we would keep banging on the door and slamming on the door until we would break the door down and eventually become Ulster winners – to make history and become the primary Derry staff to win Ulster.

“We’ve to keep coming back.

“We’ve dropped to an excellent staff; a group that has been All-Ireland winners two years ago, a group that four occasions in the previous seven years are now Munster Club hurling champions, therefore they’re no slouches.

“There is not any disgrace in losing to these guys today.”

The final goal came like an exclamation point for Na Piarsaigh’s superiority. Dowling blocked down an attempted clearance, attained the ball a fraction before Sean Cassidy, climbed it on his head and caught it on the volley to the upper corner.

Pure class.

In terms of Slaughtneil, there’s always the football, along with the chance to exact a revenge against Munster competition against Nemo Rangers of Cork city in only under a fortnight.

Slaughtneil: O O’Doherty; P McNeill, Sean ‘Tad’ Cassidy, K McKaigue; Shane McGuigan, M McGrath 0-1, C McKenna; E Cassidy, C McAllister; C McKaigue 0-1, B Rodgers 0-1, G Bradley 1-0; C O’Doherty 1-0 pencil, 0-3, 2f, M McGuigan, B Cassidy 1-2

Belfast Telegraph

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