22 May 2022

Derry senior championship team of the season

McGuigan named as player of the year

Derry senior championship team of the season

After playing some great football through the championship, Slaughtneil annexed their sixth title and join Magherafelt on the roll of honour.

Adrian Cush's side were the model of consistency and were once again back in the final, where they still were within touching distance of the title until a late Ronan Bradley insurance point.

Ballinderry may be in transition, but the Conway brothers and Michael Conlan steered them to the last four and there was also a fine run for Loup, who will take much heart going into the 2021 season.

1 – Antóin McMullan
He made a save in their first win over Kilrea and it set the tone for a consistent campaign. His kicking was assured, but it was against Glen where he earned his corn, making a vital block and took a tricky catch in the face of a comeback.
He plucked another one against the Shamrocks in the semi-final and his late save from Antone McElhone ended any chance of extra-time.
[Fifth all-star]

2 – Paul McNeill
Like McMullan, his return was a welcome boost and he added an attacking game that saw other teams put on the back foot.
He kept Danny Tallon under wraps against Glen and managed to get forward to land a point himself, before getting up to score a goal in the semi-final win over Ballinderry.
In the final, his marking job on Shane Heavron was the icing on the cake.
[Second all-star]

3 – Brendan Rogers
He adds to his seven hurling all-stars with another fine season at the heart of Slaughtneil's defence.
In the Glen game, he got forward enough to help his side push out from defence to build on his consistent league campaign.
In the final, he conceded possession to Emmett McGuckin after both throw-ins, but shepherded him away from goal. He got forward to finish his season with a point.
[Sixth all-star]

4 – Giuseppe Lupari
In his second season, Lupari was a regular in the group stages. He was dropped for the Lavey game before retaining his place and never looked back.
At different times, he snuffed out Paul McAtamney and Lorcan McWilliams against Swatragh before putting in a stellar performance in their semi-final win over Loup. When breaking balls where there, he won then and score a point to top it off.
[First all-star]

5 – Conor McCluskey
One of the finest prospects in the game and carried on his form that had him in the running for player of the year last season.
He can mark, read the game and can get forward to support the attack.
His storming runs has Swatragh all over the place from the first whistle and he had Slaughtneil concerned when moved to wing back for the second half of the final.
[Second all-star]

6 – Chrissy McKaigue
He played the season like a man possessed after their defensive mauling from Glen last season.
Despite picking up a black card against Lavey, he tagged on three points.
Against Glen, his cancellation of Ciaran McFaul hurt Glen and he attacked Ballinderry at will in the semi-final.
His early points in the final, and use of possession put him on the way to man of the match.
[Fifth all-star]

7 – Paddy Coney
Dungiven had no answer to his running in a man of the match performance.
In their win over Coleraine, he was one of the reason why they edged themselves back into the game with turnovers.
When they trailed Magherafelt at the break in the semi-final, he moved more central and helped push them to within the kick of a ball from the final.
[Second all-star]

8 – Connor Nevin
Came into the Ballinderry team as a teenager and is now the man their young lads are looking up to.
It was a central role that saw him drag Ballinderry back from the brink against Newbridge. A performance, just when they needed it.
In their quarter-final, he popped forward to kick two points in the first half and he ploughed away against Slaughtneil in a one-sided semi-final.
[Third all-star]

9 – Ryan Ferris
He played a huge part in getting Magherafelt back to the final.
His first half performance saw him squeeze out Lavey's midfield, typified by his tackle which began the move for his vital goal.
When Swatragh had Magherafelt pulled back, it was Ferris who was involved in the move which led to Shane Heavron's game-changing point.
In the final, he battled hard but didn't have enough support.
[Second all-star]

10 – Caolan Devlin
They came to within touching distance of the final, but it was Devlin's accuracy against Coleraine that turned their season from decent into a foundation for a title challenge next year.
Missed a few chances in their Bellaghy game, but bounced back to mix his game between play-maker and kicking the crucial frees.
With Coney, McAlynn and O'Brien turning the midfield battle, his eight points broke Coleraine hearts.
[First all-star]

11- Gareth McKinless
He notched a point in the opening game with Magherafelt, before scoring a wonder goal against Banagher and setting Ryan Bell up for two goals in the same game.
While he wore number three, he played between midfield and centre-forward. He was direct and he gave Nevin support against the 'Bridge.
In their win over 'Screen, he was again pivotal, but didn't the support to break Slaughtneil down.
[Third all-star]

12 – Conor Kearns
With Ryan Ferris tucked in the middle, he attacked even more than last year. It may tempt Adrian Cush to slot him back into the attack next season.
He edged his battle with Patrick Kearney in the quarter-final. His provided two assists in the first half against Loup, before grabbing two points, a feat he repeated in the final and had a half goal chance blocked. A class act.
[Second all-star]

13 – Christopher Bradley
He missed the first game and a half with injury, but still managed 2-14 from play (from 2-19) to help Slaughtneil towards glory.
In the win over Glen, he was a brilliant ball winner inside, often playing up on his own.
Against Ballinderry he had a hand in Sean Cassidy's early goal and notched one himself.
Enjoyed more freedom when McCluskey was moved off him at half-time in the final.
[Fifth all-star]

14 – Shane McGuigan
Tore defences asunder all summer and amassed 3-30 of his 4-47 from open play.
In the Glen game, he showed the other side of this game and was back forcing turnovers, in the knowledge 'Sammy' and Brian Cassidy could carry the can up front.
Now physically stronger and an increased use of the right foot, he was an awesome weapon for Paul Bradley.
[Third all-star]

15 – Conor McAteer
The youngster shot 2-11 from play across four games in a first full season as a regular to edge out Brian Cassidy.
Foreglen had no answer to his movement in Round 1 and he nailed a penalty they them trailed Loup by six points, playing like he had been in the side for years.
He had Ballinderry in all sorts of trouble and almost kicked his side into the last eight.
[First all-star]

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