27 May 2022

County Derry Post senior championship all-star team

Magherafelt and Glen lead the way

County Derry Post senior championship all-star team

Danny Heavron lifts the John McLaughlin Cup. (Pic: Mary K Burke)

The most exciting senior championship in years saw a new winner, with Magherafelt knocking out holders Coleraine in the first round.

It also saw a change from the dominance of Slaughtneil and Ballinderry for most of the decade. The Emmet's knocked out the Shamrocks before falling victim to Glen's devastating running game in the semi-final.

The Watties were unable to carry that form into the final where a Magherafelt team, while only winning by a point, were worthy winners of the John McLaughlin Cup.

Away from the final, Banagher were the story that kicked the championship into life. Despite bring relegated without winning a

game, they dumped out Bellaghy and Swatragh before pushing Adrian Cush's side to the pin of their collar in the semi-final.

1- Daryl McDermott
After picking up the intermediate goalkeeping spot last year and making the hurling selection, 'Sticks' once again is honoured.
He was the undisputed goalkeeper of the year. His kicking against Bellaghy was pin-point and varied. In their win over Swatragh he made two fantastic saves and Magherafelt would have been out of sight only for his brilliance.
[2nd All-Star]

2 - Conor McCluskey
While also a very capable 'baller, 'Clucker' was Adrian Cush's go-to marker in defence.
He was asked to shackle Colm McGoldrick when Darren O'Neill was black-carded. He kept a lid on Peter Hagan in the semi-final while getting forward to add to their attacking arsenal. Jack Doherty and Ryan Johnston also struggled against him. Two messy Benny Heron goals, neither of them his fault, was the only blot on a perfect season.
[1st All-Star]

3 - Brendan Rogers
Like goalkeeper McDermott, Roger is a dual selection.
In the Ballinderry game, he did a marking job on Ryan Bell yet still was able to get Slaughtneil on the attack with his trademark barnstorming runs from defence.
His absence from full-back left the door open for Glen to exploit but his one man crusade almost pegged the Emmet's back to nip the Watties.
[4th All-Star]

4 - Fergal Duffin
Gets the nod ahead of Darren O'Neill and was a vital cog in Magherafelt's defence.
Came out on top of his battle with Ruairi Mooney and he blotted out Conor Feeney on Banagher's kick-outs.
He held Kilcoo's Paul Devlin scoreless from play but it was his county final performance that stands out. Two moments of bravery to win turnovers that resulted in Rossa scores.
[2nd All-Star]

5 - Gavin O'Neill
Charlie O'Kane kept Bellaghy guessing with Gavin O'Neill's jersey number positioning and in his new wing back role, he was immense. The fact that he nicked man of the match ahead of Conor Feeney and Tiarnan Moore spoke wonders of his performance.
Swatragh didn't learn the lesson and once again O'Neill bossed the game from wing-back, edging the battle with Patrick Kearney.
[2nd All-Star]

6 - Connor Carville
When Glen licked their wounds after their hammering in the league by Slaughtneil, it was Connor Carville that learned the most. Following 'Sammy' Bradley left Glen open.
In the championship he was a different animal and when Oisin Hegarty was dismissed against Loup he was one of Glen's leaders.
Against Magherafelt he was one of the few to offer any help to goalkeeper Callum Mullan-Young. Glen didn't have enough like him.
[1st All-Star]

7 - Conor Kearns
With Michael McEvoy going under the knife, Magherafelt's system of play needed someone to link their defence to attack. Kearns fitted the bill and thrived in his new found freedom. He handled an endless supply of ball against Coleraine and didn't look back. His goal proved to be the vital score to sink Banagher. He didn't deserve his season to end prematurely with a harsh black card against Kilcoo.

8 - Danny Heavron
The Rossa skipper once again poured out everything he had for the cause.
His influence helped them see off Coleraine and his moment of quick-thinking put Kearns through for the all-important goal against Banagher.
In the final he pressed high on Glen's kick-outs to turn the game. Against Kilcoo he once again linked the play and was missed during a brief spell at full-forward. [1st All-Star]

9 - Ciaran McFaul
After Loup's goal it was McFaul's point that made Glen believe again. When they were staring into a defeat against Lavey, he led the way again and his display of fielding was simply awesome. Against Slaughtneil he plucked another one from the air, just when Glen needed a moment of inspiration.
Not as influential in the final as was required. Without him, Glen wouldn't have got there and given three more seconds. he would've forced a replay.
[2nd All-Star]

10 - Christopher Bradley
'Sammy' led their scoring charts in the league and it was his accuracy that edged out a well-organised Newbridge in round one.
When he found the net against Ballinderry, it cemented Slaughtneil's place in the last four.
Against Glen, he made their attack tick and was unlucky not be their last gasp hero but Oran McGill's left foot denied him a potential winning goal and a county final spot.
[3rd All-Star]

11 - Danny Tallon
Despite being captain, he was replaced against Loup but took it on the chin and came back stronger.
Kicked a point against Lavey and plucked two vital balls from the skies as Glen dug themselves out of another hole.
He gave Keelan Feeney the runaround in the semi-final. A hamstring injury shadowed his preparation for the final, but he saved his best for last and put in a performance that deserved to lift the John McLaughlin Cup.
[1st All-Star]

12 - Emmett McGuckin
His goal against Coleraine kicked off Magherafelt's route to glory, as he delivered in spades.
Revelling in the freedom of midfield he made his side tick and his performance in the final, along with that of Odhrán Lynch, ended the Rossa famine. His scores broke Glen's hearts.
Kilcoo had no answer to him at full-forward and he didn't deserve to be on the losing side.
[1st All-Star]

13 - Francis Kearney
Daniel McKinless and Paul Gunning can count themselves unlucky to miss out.
Francis Kearney carried his league form into the championship. He was in red hot form (1-7 of his 1-11 was from play) over Swatragh's two games. If the 'Swa' had been able to get a handle on Banagher's attack, his scoring power would've taken them to the last four.
[1st All-Star]

14 - Alex Doherty
Another contender for player of the championship, he pinged 1-10 from play and was Glen's top scorer.
His goal against Lavey was sensational. After beating three men on his road to goal, he powered to the net for the goal that arguably changed Glen's season.
Scoring 0-2 off Karl McKaigue is no mean feat and he backed it up with four mighty points in the final.
[1st All-Star]

15 - Tiarnan Moore
One year on from tearing intermediate defences apart, Moore was at it again.
His tally of 2-2, with one assist from brother Niall, tore the Bellaghy defence asunder as he revelled in the open spaces.
While he didn't score against Swatragh he pulled their defence all over the place as Banagher once again made hay.
His frightening pace was one of the stories of the championship.

[2nd All-Star]

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