Austin Stacks 2-10
Fintan O’Toole reports from O’Moore Park, Portlaoise
CORMAC O’DOHERTY WAS the Slaughtneil hero as his 56th minute point proved the match-winner in their victory over Austin Stacks in yesterday’s AIB All-Ireland senior club football semi-final O’Moore Park.
The Kerry champions had a chance to level it after a huge hit by Kieran Donaghy resulted in them winning a late free but Shane Carroll’s effort from the left wing tailed wide. Slaughtneil survived the battle in the closing stages of an absorbing contest to set up a St Patrick’s Day meeting with Galway’s Corofin.
Two goals by wing-back Pa McCarthy had put Austin Stacks in the driving seat in the first-half but Slaughtneil fought back with their left half-back Barry McGuigan netting just before the break.
Kerry senior captain Donaghy played a major role in the Austin Stacks goals as he won the two penalties that enabled them to raise two green flags.
The first arrived in the 14th minute when Donaghy was fouled by Chrissy McKaigue and McCarthy’s penalty may have been saved by goalkeeper Antoin McMullan but he reacted quickest to smash the rebound to the net.
Three minutes later, Austin Stacks were awarded another penalty when Donaghy was again hauled down and this time McKaigue was booked for the indiscretion. This time McCarthy made no mistake at the first attempt as he planted the ball in the top corner of the net.
Paul Bradley’s free taking and Christopher Bradley’s accuracy from play kept Slaughtneil in touch and they hit 1-3 without reply before half-time to go ahead. McGuigan crowned a surging run when he struck the net, booting home the rebound after his initial shot collided with the butt of the upright.
Crucially Slaughtneil got to grips with Donaghy’s threat as Brendan Rodgers was switched on to him while McKaigue was released to centre-back where he exerted a major influence on the game.
A Carroll point for Austin Stacks just before the interval left it delicately poised as the teams were drawing 2-5 to 1-8. That pattern was replicated in the second-half as it stood 2-9 to 1-12 entering the final quarter.
Derry’s Chrissy McKaigue came forward to bomb over a magnificent point for Slaughtneil in the 47th minute but they were pegged back when Carroll popped over a free. The atmosphere was electric in the closing moments but Slaughtneil had the greater poise and control with Doherty slotting over a famous score to propel the Derry champions towards the final.
Scorers for Austin Stacks: Pa McCarthy 2-1 (1-0 pen), Shane Carroll 0-3 (0-2f), David Mannix 0-2 (0-1f), Shane O’Callaghan, Greg Horan, Kieran Donaghy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Slaughtneil: Barry McGuigan 1-1, Paul Bradley 0-4 (0-4f), Christopher Bradley 0-3, Gerard Bradley, Cormac O’Doherty, Chrissy McKaigue, Patsy Bradley, Padraig Kelly 0-1 each.
1. Antoin McMullan
3. Brendan Rodgers
6. Chrissy McKaigue
4. Karl McKaigue
5. Conan Cassidy
7. Barry McGuigan
2. Francis McEldowney
8. Patsy Bradley
9. Paudie McGuigan
10. Padraig Kelly
11. Christopher Bradley
12. Ronan Bradley
13. Gerard Bradley
14. Paul Bradley
15. Cormac O’Doherty
22. Sé McGuigan for Gerard Bradley (52)
23. Padraig Cassidy for Christopher Bradley (61)
1. Darragh O’Brien
4. Ronan Shanahan
3. Barry Shanahan
6. Conor Jordan
7. Denis McElligott
2. Fearghal McNamara
5. Pa McCarthy
8. Wayne Guthrie
9. Greg Horan
12. Daniel Bohan
11. Shane Carroll
10. Mikey Collins
13. David Mannix
14. Kieran Donaghy
15. Shane O’Callaghan
17. Darragh O’Brien for Collins (half-time)
18. William Kirby for Bohan (37)
Referee: David Gough (Meath)