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Chrissy McKaigue: Dual commitments in Slaughtneil 'very difficult to maintain and sustain'

Slaughtneil were defeated in the All-Ireland club football and hurling semi-finals last month.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

SLAUGHTNEIL NEED TO manage their hurling and football commitments ‘more efficiently’ if they’re to finally land an All-Ireland title in either code, according to Chrissy McKaigue.

The Derry kingpins have lost three All-Ireland semi-finals and one final between both codes in the past 12 months and, speaking on RTÉ 2FM’s Game On last night, McKaigue suggested that a change might required to get them over the line.

“We have some fantastic dual players in this club but the reality is, it’s very, very difficult to do yourself justice and be the best hurler you can be or the best footballer you can be when you’re chopping and changing so much,” he said.

“That’s just the reality I have always been a huge promoter for duality because I think as Gaels that’s what we should be about. We should be promoting our national games irrespective of what part of the country we’re from.

“But there comes a time where perhaps you might just have to selfish and say, ‘Physically, mentally, emotionally, I can’t give much more here. I might have to pick a code or give slightly more to a code.’

“Now that’s not the Slaughtneil mantra or their way of doing things but going forward for some players that might have to be something they consider.

“We’re not a huge club with a huge playing base. In terms of resources, the players are the most important resource in all this.

“A lot has been asked of our dual players because, dare I say it, our best hurlers and footballers are dual players. I just think especially in hurling the technical side of things caught up with us.”

Their hurling side fell at the All-Ireland semi-final stage of the past two competitions, to Cuala in 2017 and Na Piarsaigh last month.

After losing to Dr Crokes in the All-Ireland football final last St Patrick’s Day, Slaughtneil made it back to the semi-final where they were outlasted by Nemo Rangers in extra-time.

McKaigue believes fatigue was a factor in their loss to the Munster champions.

“Definitely fatigue in extra-time caught up with us a wee bit and maybe all in all out preparation, for hurling and football, hasn’t been as good as what it probably could have been,” he said.

“When you go to play the top sides like Na Piarsaigh in the hurling and Nemo in the football you have to be at your max level. We probably just weren’t at our max level in either code to be honest.

While Slaughtneil have received widespread praise for their promotion of both codes, their star player says they’ll have to reassess things for the coming season.

“As fantastic as it has been in terms of what we have done at Derry and at Ulster level, I just think probably the whole thing caught up with us.

“There’s a great, almost, romanticism based around the dual component but going forward it’s actually very difficult to maintain and sustain.

“Perhaps going forward next year we going to have to look at how we can do things a little bit more, almost, efficiently.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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