Chris McKaigue excited by club championship
Derry and Slughtneiul star Chris McKaigue explained how important the Championship is to Slaughtneil.
RS: In Derry there are a lot of people who care more about the club scene than the county, and we are on the brink of the Club Championship now. For someone who hasn’t been involved for a couple of years, how excited are you?
CMcK: Definitely club football is a big part of my life, but there are six or seven clubs that can win the Derry Championship. You can’t think that only the top three or four can win it. It is unbelievably competitive. We have got a tough first round opener against Coleraine. I am excited, but wary of the challenge from six or seven other teams.
RS: How strong is the Slaughtneil team now?
CMcK: It is hard to tell, how each team has progressed. Our team is a lot younger than it was a few years ago, that sounds contradictory, but we have a lot of young players in, who would have been minor one or two years ago. That has freshened things up a bit.
Ballinderry have increased their standard having been in Ulster finals and just pipped narrowly by Crossmaglen. The Loup have come good again, and Glenullin have made a big push as well.
RS: How important would it be for Slaughtneil to win the Championship?
CMcK: It would be unbelievable because Slaughtneil are a club that live and breathe GAA, when you see the crowds that go to their league games then you know how much it means to people in Slaughtneil. We only have won one, in 2004, but we have had a few narrow misses, throughout the other years, in semi-finals and finals, it would mean a lot to the club and the community.
RS: I imagine that the defeat in 2008 was particularly hard to take?
CMcK: That was Ballinderry by a point. They went on to get beat by Crossmaglen in the Ulster final [after a replay], so it just shows that if you ever get out of Derry then you never know what kind of run you could go on.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday August 2. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here