28 May 2022

Kevin Lynch's and Slaughtneil can secure semi-final places

Swatragh and Coleraine so battle in Glenullin

Kevin Lynch's and Slaughtneil can secure semi-final places

Darragh Cartin and Donal Kelly in action during the 2016 championship (Pic: Mary K Burke)

If Kevin Lynch's can overturn their recent losing sequence to Banagher on Wednesday night, they will book a semi-final spot in this year's senior hurling championship.

Banagher defeated their neighbours in the 2016 and 2017 semi-finals before going down to Slaughtneil.

The Lynch's have brought through a host of new players in the intervening years from their Ulster minor winning teams and have went toe to toe with the Emmet's in the last two seasons.

Geoffrey McGonigle has added to his management team. Former Dunloy goalkeeper Shane Elliott and Ryan O'Neill join Ronan McCloskey in the setup.

In a change to their team structure, Derry goalkeeper Sean Kelly played outfield last season but he has replaced BJ Lagan between the posts.

In the first round this season, they were 3-2 to 0-1 ahead against Swatragh and were cruising but failed to match the Swatragh workrate before losing their stranglehold of the game.

In their game, Banagher led Coleraine by five points after the first quarter but it was the visitors to Fr McNally Park who took control. Darragh Cartin's last gasp free earned them a draw but Banagher's body language told a story of dejection.

The one thing that will raise them will be the sight of the Kevin Lynch's jersey and local bragging rights is everything. They met in the league last season and it was hell for leather.

Selector Ronan McCloskey stated after the Swatragh game that his side had plenty to improve on and they will be keen to put the record straight.

In the other game in the section, all is to play for as Swatragh take on Coleraine, two teams who will have taken a lot out of their first round outings.

For Coleraine manager Brendan McNicholl, it will be about assessing who all is available after last weekend's football championship. It was touch and go if they would even get a team to play Banagher, such is their limited squad. They were minus Ruairi Mooney, Liam and Barry McGoldrick.

Swatragh were upbeat after their spirited display in the Kevin Lynch Park monsoon but Declan McGuckin and Seamus Bradley will need to address their poor start that left them with a mountain to climb. They will need to get more scores from open play if they are to see off Coleraine.

In the other group, merciless Slaughtneil take on Lavey where a win would seal a semi-final berth and allow breathing space during a hectic period for dual players.

Gerald Bradley didn't start against 'Screen and could come into contention, but Michael McShane will be without Karl McKaigue following his Achilles tendon injury. The champions will have to plan without the suspended Jerome McGuigan but they have plenty more in reserve. Liam Cassidy, Prionsias Burke, Cormac McKenna and minor star Shea Cassidy could all come into the selection thoughts.

Lavey lost Ryan Mulholland with broken fingers in their win over Na Magha and will need to offer more in front of the posts, with Johnny McGarvey's side hitting close to 20 wides in their opener. Fintan Bradley, Paddy Henry and Ciaran Hendry were their scorers, but it's hard to see them getting anything from this game.

Ballinascreen manager Cathal McDaid will be looking for a reaction from his side's heavy defeat at Emmet Park to take into their clash with Na Magha.

They will take positives with the appetite shown in the opening 20 minutes and how the use of Martin Mulgrew's short puck-outs worked. Paul Cleary is carrying all their scoring threat and that will be a concern.

Na Magha, minus Alan Grant, stuck with Lavey every step of the way and they will be keen to build on that as they strive to break away from their tag as a junior team.

A win for Ballinascreen could setup a showdown with Lavey in Round 3, where the winner would advance to the senior semi-finals.

The top two teams from each section will advance to the senior semi-finals, where the losers will play in the intermediate final.

The bottom two teams in each group will make up the junior championship semi-finals.

Fixtures (Wednesday)
8.00 - Lavey v Slaughtneil - Tarlach Conway
8.00 - Ballinascreen v Na Magha - Barry Winters
7.30 - Swatragh v Coleraine (in Glenullin) - Niall Clifford
7.30 - Kevin Lynch's v Banagher (in Foreglen) - Eamonn Hasson

Cormac O'Doherty Slaughtneil 1-10
Sean Leo McGoldrick Coleraine 1-9
Deaglan Foley Na Magha 0-10
Paul Cleary Ballinascreen 1-7
Brendan Rogers Slaughtneil 2-2
Jerome McGuigan Slaughtneil 2-2

Round 3 – Aug 15/16
Na Magha v Slaughtneil
Lavey v Ballinascreen
Swatragh v Banagher
Coleraine v Kevin Lynch's

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