Sunday 25 February 2018

Duality can't work in clubs without success - McKaigue

Slaughtneil's Chrissy McKaigue. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Slaughtneil's Chrissy McKaigue. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Much has been said about Slaughtneil's ability to compete at a high level in both hurling and football, but for Chrissy McKaigue the secret to their success is a lot simpler than some have made out.

The Derry club are on a remarkable run. They'll contest senior All-Ireland semi-finals in both codes over the next couple of weeks, starting with Saturday's football clash with Dublin champions St Vincent's.

But McKaigue agrees that winning silverware has made it easier for everyone within the club to find a way to accommodate both codes, regardless of their personal preference.

"Sadly, it has to be said that duality in clubs won't work unless there is success because people will find a reason for it not to work," McKaigue said, as the footballers look to join their camogie side in an All-Ireland final.

"But when you get a bit of success people say 'hang on a minute, it can work'. That was probably similar in our club too, more people have come around to it that you can embrace being a dual player and it's just not about football coming from a county like Derry.

"The players can take a lot of credit for that but also our two management teams, Mickey Moran and Mickey McShane. I always think if you are part of a GAA club you have an obligation to promote all your codes because at the end of the day we are all Gaels.

"It's great we give hurling, football and camogie the due respect and give our players the best chance of playing it.

"Everyone is talking about Slaughtneil not because of football, hurling or camogie but because of the three and that's a good place to be at the minute." 

Slaughtneil are underdogs in both of their upcoming semi-finals but McKaigue insists that will count for little on Saturday afternoon.

"Them (Vincent's) and Corofin are always tipped to be in the final. But we've been underdogs before and you just can't read too much into that. I think the four teams left in the football at the minute all have experience at being at this level before. That can't be under-estimated because in (the 2015 All-Ireland club final defeat) we were almost a wee bit shell-shocked, because we went into an environment, you went into an atmosphere that you hadn't experienced before. Like I said, you expect nothing easy at this stage.

"Ballinderry played (Vincent's) in 2013 in Newry, the same venue, so they'll have experience of playing Derry clubs before but we understand how much we are up against it. We understand how good Vincent's are, but there's nothing we can do about that. We just have to play the way we play and bring our best to the game."

And McKaigue expects the bitter memories of their football final defeat to Corofin two years ago to drive them on.

"Ultimately our performance (against Corofin) wasn't good enough. It wasn't what we as a club want to embody and it hurts; of course it hurts.

"We have to use that because as I said before as a playing group we weren't happy and we suffered a hangover here in 2015 because of it."

Irish Independent

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