The Derry dual star, who also played in Ireland’s second International Rules test in Croke Park on Saturday night, hit two early points as Slaughtneil romped into a shock 1-6 to 0-1 lead after 12 minutes at Celtic Park.
Loughgiel didn’t panic as Slaughtneil took full advantage of a strong wind, and two goals in three minutes from Eddie McCloskey ease the favourites into the contest.
McKaigue accepted McCloskey’s goals against the breeze were crucial, but was annoyed at being forced to play two games in less than 24 hours. “There’s people in the committees and I don’t understand their rationale when it comes to fixtures.
“It was a very difficult decision for me to play (on Saturday night) but I owed Paul Earley and the Ireland team, because we have been training for 10 weeks. There is no concern for player welfare. I’m disappointed with the Ulster Council.”
Slaughtneil centre-back Cormac McKenna buried a 20m free past Chris O’Connell for the opening goal after 10 minutes.
Eddie McCloskey brought Loughgiel back into the game with two goals in the 20th and 22nd minutes and Slaughtneil saw their lead reduced to 1-11 to 2-4 by half-time.
It was a huge moment when Conor McKenna’s penalty was saved by Loughgiel keeper Chris O’Connell five minutes after the restart. Once Loughgiel hit the front through a Tony McCloskey point in the 42nd minute, the result was never in doubt.
LOUGHGIEL: C O’Connell; P Gillan, N McGarry, R McCloskey; T Coyle, M Scullion, O McFadden; M McFadden, T McCloskey (0-1); B McAuley (0-2), D Laverty (0-1), E McCloskey (2-2); B McCarry (0-1), S Casey (1-0), L Watson (0-7, 6f)
Sub: D McCloskey for Coyle (47).
SLAUGHTNEIL: E McGuigan; K McKaigue, P Kearney, C Kearney; S Cassidy, C McKenna (1-3, 2f), J Mulholland; C O’Doherty, G O’Kane (0-6, 6f); G Bradley (0-2), D Kearney, C McKaigue (0-4, 1f); O O’Doherty, B Rodgers, S McGuigan.
Subs: B Óg Corbett for C Kearney (28), E Cassidy for D Kearney (39), F Kelly for Rodgers (52).
Referee: Brendan Sweeney (Cavan).