Emmet's deserved it says Johnny Campbell
LOUGHGIEL manager Johnny Campbell admitted it would have been “a travesty” had his side managed to get anything out of yesterday’s Ulster Club Senior Hurling Championship final.
Despite having trailed Slaughtneil by nine points at one stage in the first half, the Antrim champions managed to cut the deficit to four in the end as they bravely attempted to force their way back into the game.
In truth though, the scoreboard flattered Loughgiel – and Campbell knew it.
His side never got to grips with the speed and intensity brought by Slaughtneil, despite being prepared for the storm, according to the Shamrocks boss.
“It definitely didn’t catch us unawares – we didn’t deal with it,” he said of Slaughtneil’s fast start. We knew it was coming, it was the exact same as 2013. They came out fast and we knew all about it having watched them the last two or three years. We just didn’t do it on the day.
“Slowly, we edged our way back into the game but, to be fair, it would have been a travesty to them if we had come out of that game with anything.”
Loughgiel simply had too much know-how for a young Slaughtneil side when they met in the Ulster Club final of 2013.
Three years on though, and the Derry men proved they are a different animal by becoming the first side from the county to lift the Four Seasons Cup.
Campbell continued: “The last time we played them, some of their players were teenagers, in their early 20s and stuff. That experience has stood to them.
“That is a massive club out there, the work they have done and the players they have, the togetherness and the spirit, it would take a good team to beat them.”
On the huge part played by Slaughtneil’s rampaging captain Chrissy McKaigue, Campbell added: “He hurt us, in fairness to him. “And we were slow to make the changes on him. He is a massive hurler, a massive athlete.”
It was a disappointing end to what has been a positive first season in charge for the former Antrim stalwart, and he didn’t hold back when asked how it felt watch from the sidelines rather than being in the thick of the action.
“Sh*t – I’m not dressing it up,” said Campbell.
“Especially the first half. I don’t know what you can say. You have to hand it over to the players. We thought we had the men to do it and I still believe that, that the boys will be back.”