Hurling and camogie

Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane rules out switch to Antrim

Club, work and family commitments mean the timing isn't right for Michael McShane to become Antrim manager. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.
Andy Watters

ANTRIM’S search for a new senior hurling manager continues after early favourite Michael McShane confirmed he was not in a position to take on the role.

The Ballycastle clubman was the only candidate the county’s clubs nominated to replace Terence McNaughton and Dominic McKinley who decided to step down last month. After some soul-searching McShane, who has guided Slaughtneil to back-to-back Ulster titles and consecutive All-Ireland semi-finals, decided the time wasn’t right for him to move into the inter-county scene.

He met with Antrim chairman Collie Donnelly and explained his decision.

“I had a really good think about it and I met with the chairman last week to explain to him that I had decided to withdraw my nomination,” said McShane, whose Slaughtneil side successfully defended their Derry title this year and now play Down champions Ballycran at the Ulster semi-final stage on October 28.

“There were three reasons behind that. Firstly, the last four years I’ve been managing Slaughtneil and I’ve been asking the boys for a serious commitment.

“Everything I’ve asked for I’ve been given and that’s the reason why they’ve been very successful. I just think it would be remiss of me now, when we believe there is more to be done and more to be achieved, to walk away from it.

“There is an unbelievably strong bond between us all as a group, as a management and a group of players, and together we’ve all been working really hard for the last four years. I don’t want to break that up and I just feel a sense of loyalty to the players and to the Slaughtneil club.”

Work and family commitments played an equally important part in McShane’s decision but the former corner-forward said he “would be honoured” to be considered for the role at some stage in the future.

“From a home point of view, there’s a massive commitment in managing a club like Slaughtneil who are competing at the highest level,” he explained.

“I have three young children at home including a 10-month old baby and only for the fact that I have a very, very supportive wife who understands what is required I wouldn’t be able to do the job.

“I’m stretching it as far as I can to get where I am at the moment and, much as it’s a great commitment at a club, the commitment for inter-county would be even greater.

“I just don’t think I have the time to do that right now and I would not be happy to take on the Antrim management unless I could give it 100 per cent. 99 per cent would be no use, it would have to be 100 and I just can’t do that at the moment.”

He added: “Work-wise I have a heavy work load from a business point of view.

“Hopefully over the next 12-to-18 months the load at work will lighten, the children will get a wee bit older and the next time the Antrim job comes around, or some time in the future, I would be very interested if I was deemed good enough to be nominated.

“I am a proud Antrim man, I want to see my county do well and I would be very honoured to manage Antrim some day. Right now I don’t believe it’s my time and that’s why I withdrew my nomination.

“I explained that to the county chairman and he was very understanding and he saw where I was coming from.”

The Antrim County Board is expected to make progress on appointing a new manager after this year's county championship is concluded. This weekend Cushendall and St John's meet in a semi-final replay with Loughgiel Shamrocks awaiting the winner in the final.

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