Brendan Rogers swats away treble talk with Slaughtneil
AS the Slaughtneil hurlers formed a guard of honour to welcome their Ulster winning camogs back to the club on Saturday night, chat quickly turned to the footballers.
The only one of the eight Ulster club quarter-finalists to ever have won the provincial football crown, they took a tentative step forward with a hard-earned 0-12 to 0-7 win over Derrygonnelly at Celtic Park on Sunday.
Having helped the hurlers create history last Sunday and then been in Maghera to see the camogs double up the club’s provincial haul for the year, Brendan Rogers acknowledges that chat around the country inevitably turned to them completing a wholly unprecedented treble.
The young full-back insisted that the Slaughtneil players will stay clear of such ideas.
“At the club [on Saturday night] when the girls were coming home, there were a few boys taunting and prodding, saying the pressure is on us now but no, we don’t like to think about that.
”It is game at a time. You can never look to parties or anything like that. It’s about getting over the line and when you are over the line and history is made or whatever happens happens, but we are taking the next game. There are no trophies to be played for yet.”
His class shone throughout as he not only put Harps forward Stephen McGullion in a straitjacket, but he was also one of very few to offer injections of pace into the Slaughtneil play on an uncharacteristically flat afternoon.
The come-down for the dual players from winning the Ulster hurling title for the first time ever last Sunday was almost inevitable against a side that Slaughtneil had beaten by 18 points in Ulster last year.
Derrygonnelly came this time with an altogether different gameplan. They loaded bodies inside their own 45 and made it fiercely difficult for the Derry champions to break them down.
It’s hard to picture Mickey Moran ever getting too annoyed but the first half, which ended with two late Slaughtneil scores that took them in 0-6 to 0-5 ahead, was enough to rattle a few cages.
“We weren’t settled in ourselves. We have been used to playing defensive teams and today we were just jittery,” said Rogers.
“Maybe that was complacency. He wasn’t too happy but it’s something you have to learn and get over. You have to adapt and that’s basically what he touched on.
“Good teams adapt on days like today, when things aren’t going so well. We took our half time to recover and push out in the second half – do what we do best, play like we train to play.”
As Slaughtneil began their recovery after the game on Sunday, they were beginning to look to the challenge of Tyrone champions Killyclogher, who convincingly overcame a fancied Cargin side in their quarter-final.
And for the first time since their Championship season began with the hurlers claiming victory over Lavey on August 13, Slaughtneil’s dual players will get two weeks of consecutive football training.
It’s often said that dual players can lose their touch in hurling if they are splitting their training between the two codes, but what about the prospect of losing their touch in football?
“It is the probably the first time in the championship season we have had two weeks to prepare. It will be key going into the next game.
“Killyclogher will be a big game and it will take two weeks to prepare for a game like that.
“Boys find themselves going up to the pitch the odd night to kick about and just watch training. You have nothing else to do, it’s in the routine to go to the pitch.
“Even if you standing watching training, you kick a ball and it’s enough to keep you going for two weeks.”