Unsavoury scenes after Slaughtneil knocked out
The drive for five was brought to a shuddering halt at Owenbeg.
Eoghan Rua held Slaughtneil to a draw in their Derry SFC quarter final last weekend, and they went one better, dumping the Derry kingpins out of the championship on Wednesday evening.
Despite trailing by seven points at one stage in the first half, the Coleraine outfit gradually clawed Slaughtneil back and when Liam McGoldrick split the posts in a windy Dungiven with 64 minutes on the clock, the most dominant club in Ulster over the last few years were beaten and they were knocked out.
The final score read 1-11 to 0-13 with Colm McGoldrick's goal proving decisive.
The game didn't pass without controversy, however.
Dan Mullan's performance as referee divided opinions all over the Oak Leaf county. Many spectators claimed that the Glenullin man was spot on with his calls while others felt the man with the whistle didn't make one good decision in the whole game.
In my opinion Slaughtneil were hard done by tonight. Should of got at least 4 or 5 free kicks in scoring positions but referee gave them absolutely nothing. Referee was piss piss poor. Horrible...Again, in my opinion!!
— Fintan Martin (@fintyp76) October 3, 2018
These commentators are more than likely coming from Coleraine and Slaughtneil perspectives so it's hard to read too much into them, but after another tight game where fine margins were proved decisive, it's another case of the referee's job being the most unenviable of them all.
Referees are only human. They make mistakes but they rarely go out with the intention of doing so.
Some Slaughtneil folk felt aggrieved by some of Mullan's decisions on Wednesday evening and with their pulses racing upon the realisation that they'd lost, a small number of them took to the field to confront the officials.
We were sent a video of the unsavoury scenes after the final whistle and we broke it down here.
1 Men being held back
A couple of players try to act as peacemakers as some supporters/mentors surrounded the referee and his umpires.
The man at the bottom left of the screen is clearly being held back.
To the players' credit, they all appeared to be attempting to calm the whole thing down.
2 Umpire gets a belt
The umpire ships a belt from a man in a red cap while the man being held back continues his progressions towards the fracas.
3 Umpire points fingers
You can watch the full video here.
By the time the dust settled, Slaughtneil were magnanimous and they wished the best of luck to Eoghan Rua going ahead of their semi-final against Ballinascreen.
The committee would also like to take the opportunity to wish the best of luck to @EoghanRua in their campaign going forward.
— CLG Roibeard Eiméid, Sleacht Néill (@GACSlaughtneil) October 4, 2018
For the men of Slaughtneil now, it's all about making it three hurling titles in a row.