McShane: Slaughtneil hunger as strong as ever

Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane knows Dunloy will be determined to avenge recent defeats to the Derry and Ulster champions Picture: Hugh Russell
Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane knows Dunloy will be determined to avenge recent defeats to the Derry and Ulster champions Picture: Hugh Russell

AFTER watching his side demolish Portaferry to set up another Ulster Club SHC final appearance, this time against Dunloy, Michael McShane confidently predicted that the Antrim champions would be “hell-bent on revenge”.

Sunday’s final at the Athletic Grounds will be the fourth meeting in recent times between the two clubs and McShane’s Derry kingpins have prevailed each and every time, including last year’s semi-final showdown that finished 1-18 to 0-14.

While Dunloy will be out to avenge those defeats, the Slaughtneil manager insists his side won’t be found wanting in terms of drive or desire as they look to capture their fifth Ulster title in six seasons and their third on the trot.

“They’ll be hurting from losing three times to us. They’ll be hurting from the fact that they’ve won four Antrim titles (in a row) but have yet to win an Ulster title,” said McShane.

“They’re a proud club and a proud group of players and they’ll be hell-bent on winning it, as any team would be if they were in the final. But as hell-bent as they are, we will be the same.

“We’re trying to win three in a row here, we’re trying to win five in six years, we want to win it this year and get ourselves back to the national level and get another crack at that.

“I know from looking in the eyes of these group of players that I’m working with that they’re very, very determined and very focused and they’re in a really good place and we’re looking forward to the weekend.”

That determination and drive stitched into the maroon and white jerseys of Slaughtneil is totally player-led suggests McShane and the group are hoping to continue making history and continue to collect silverware for as long as they can.

“This is very player driven,” added McShane, who is also the manager for the Tyrone senior hurlers.

“I’ve said it on many occasions, this group of players are very hungry for success and to win as much as they possibly can in their careers. They know they’re riding on the crest of a wave and thankfully that wave has been going for a long time now.

“They’re determined to keep it going and to maximise what they can win in their careers so they’re a very driven set of players and that makes it a lot easier for me as a manager and us as a management team.

“The Ulster final, it’s always a day to look forward to because you work hard to get there, and you look forward to it. We’ve won four out of the last five so we’re going to try and win our fifth now, but we have a big performance ahead of us on Sunday before we can make that number happen.”

Slaughtneil are aiming to get back competing on the national stage, following last year's heart-breaking All-Ireland semi-final defeat to eventual champions Ballygunner.

“It’s not a driving force, it’s not something we talk about regularly. When you lose a game of that magnitude, you’re hurting, of course you are. But we hurt for a week or two and then we get over it and reset and refocus for the next year.

“Are we hurting over the last few years, losing those All-Ireland semi-finals? Yeah, because we’ve lost a game. It doesn’t matter what game you lose; you should be hurting if you’ve lost.

“The only thing that’s in our minds and the only thing that’s in our focus is Sunday and winning that game and if we win that then we can reset and refocus for an All-Ireland semi-final and another crack at that level which we’d be very keen to try.”