Ulster Club SHC replay: Cushendall 2-10 0-10 Slaughtneil

Cushendall's Paddy McGill and Slaughtneil's Se McGuigan
Paddy McGill [left] hit Cushendall's final two points in the replay win over Slaughtneil

Cushendall set up an Ulster Club Hurling Final against Portaferry next weekend as they beat brave Slaughtneil in Sunday's semi-final replay.

There was the suspicion Slaughtneil might have missed the boat in the drawn game two weeks ago and so it proved.

Slaughtneil trailed by 0-4 to 0-3 after 25 minutes but Karl McKeegan's goal put Dall 1-4 to 0-3 ahead at the break.

Slaughtneil fought back to trail by two but Neil McManus's 39th-minute penalty put five between the teams again.

The closest Slaughtneil got in the closing stages was four in arrears with six minutes remaining but two late points from Cushendall substitute Paddy McGill made the game safe.

The strength of the Dall bench was a crucial factor in the second half with replacement Shane McNaughton also hitting two points after his introduction while McManus finished with a 1-6 tally for the Antrim champions.

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Neil McManus relieved as Dall finally subdue Slaughtneil

Cushendall had led for most of the way in the drawn game but twice needed to come from behind in the closing three minutes of play to force the rematch.

That led many pundits to contend that Slaughtneil had missed their big chance although the Derry champions's manager Mickey Glover was strongly rejecting this assertion in the run-up to the replay.

Glover was also optimistic that the involvement of six of his side in Slaughtneil's Derry Football Final win over Ballinderry last weekend would not catch up on his squad.

Slaughtneil did take the lead thanks to a third-minute point from Oisin O'Doherty but three McManus frees and a McKeegan point put Dall three ahead by the 14th minute.

Points from Brendan Rogers and Gareth O'Kane left the minimum between the sides but Dall then struck a crucial blow when McKeegan netted five minutes before the break.

Slaughtneil outscored the Antrim champions 0-3 to 0-1 in the five minutes after half-time but their revival was halted as Dall won a stonewall penalty which McManus fired low to the net.

The Derry champions bravely stuck to their task and were still in with a glimmer of hope with six minutes to go after points from Cormac O'Doherty and Cormac McKenna cut the margin to four points.

But the goal that they needed never really threatened and McGill's two quick points closed out the game.

The Ulster Council will announce the venue for next Sunday's final on Monday and the Armagh Athletic Grounds is being tipped as the likely location.

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