Slaughtneil are refusing to let minds wander to a potential All-Ireland final hat-trick, insists Chrissy McKaigue.
The Derry club’s camogie side have already claimed a senior final place and the men’s footballers will attempt to complete another piece of the jigsaw against St Vincent’s in this Saturday’s semi-final in Newry, before the hurlers take on Cuala later this month.
To reach both men’s finals would spoil the GAA’s plans to stage the All-Ireland finals together in Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day, but that’s not something McKaigue or his clubmen are worrying about.
“That’s always mentioned in the media because it makes for good reading in the paper, but you can’t think about that. No way. The girls again have put pressure on us by winning.
“No, that’s one thing about our management teams — they would never, ever let you go down that path. Plus, our playing groups are very tight-knit too in terms of keeping everybody in check because we were humbled out there by Corofin [in 2015], and I think that day we got caught up in the occasion. So we can’t let that happen again.”
With Slaughtneil’s teams sharing nine starters and 20 players altogether, McKaigue praised Cuala for agreeing to change the date of the hurling semi-final to February 25 from last weekend’s original date, although he felt the Central Competitions Control Committee should have taken matters into their own hands.
“It just would have been literally impossible, no matter what way the Vincent’s game would have gone because a week’s turnaround… people tend to forget we’re amateur athletes. As much as we want to prepare like professionals, we have to go to work, we have to tend to our families and all the rest of it.
“We’re very thankful to Cuala. But I thought the GAA should have dealt with it themselves. Obviously, it will go back to the calendar congestion but it shouldn’t have been up to Cuala — but it was, and thank God they were very supportive.
“I just would have liked them [the GAA] to have taken the bull by the horns because there are enough clubs around the country that are struggling, and enough clubs that are struggling because of the dual aspect too.”
Slaughtneil’s dual culture is obviously something McKaigue feels strongly about. “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.”
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