Chrissy McKaigue pleads with GAA to switch Slaughtneil semi-final dates
CHRISSY McKaigue has implored the GAA to send out a strong message about its support for clubs by agreeing to Slaughtneil’s request for an alteration of their All-Ireland semi-final fixtures.
McKaigue is among a number of dual players who have powered the south Derry outfit to Ulster club football and hurling titles.
The hurlers are due to play Dublin and Leinster champions Cuala in the All-Ireland semi-finals on February 4, while the footballers booked their passage to the same stage by beating London’s, St Kiernan’s last weekend.
Mickey Moran’s side are now scheduled to face St Vincent’s of Dublin just a week after the hurling game, on February 11, and the club have asked the GAA to consider a fortnight gap between the games.
Derry star McKaigue, a backer of the new Club Players Association, referenced the current ‘fixture chaos’ around the country and suggested that helping out Slaughtneil would be a good message to send out to clubs generally by the GAA.
“Unfortunately common sense isn’t always a hot topic in GAA,” said McKaigue.
“I’m very proud to be part of the Club Players Association too and our biggest task there is to try and fix the fixture chaos.
“There’s five weeks to the final after the All-Ireland semi-finals, I don’t think a week delay would hurt anyone and it would put out a really strong message that the GAA wants to promote all its games.
“If it wants to promote all its games in the clubs, what better message than giving Slaughtneil an (extra) week leeway after an All-Ireland hurling semi-final to prepare for the football?
“It’s not going to be easy. Logistically, it’s not easy to plan in terms of how you prepare but we’d be hopeful that we can put that measure in place with the GAA that they could at least have a two-week break.
“Obviously we’d be hopeful about that but we have to prepare for the worst case scenario too.
‘‘I’m very reluctant and very careful not to complain too much because we’re in a very privileged position but we would like a wee bit of help from the governing body, that they would help us out and, as I said, it would be a really positive message because we all want to promote Gaelic games.
“We want to promote all our boys and girls playing the codes that we have produced so I think that would be a strong message.”
Slaughtneil, who are also the Ulster club camogie champions, have balanced all of their commitments superbly so far and McKaigue said it won’t be used as an excuse for any defeat which may occur if the fixtures aren’t changed.
“I’m very careful talking about these kinds of things because they can look like excuses and Slaughtneil don’t do excuses,” continued the former Aussie Rules player.
“We’ve played in a lot of big games in the last four years, won a few, lost a few. We’ve learned a lot from them. So we’ll just prepare the best we can and follow the model that we have done in the balancing of the two codes and we’ll see where that takes us.’’