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Husband and wife help power Loughgiel's shot at double

By Declan Bogue

Published 22/10/2016

Showdown: Johnny Campbell has steered Loughgiel to Ulster final
Showdown: Johnny Campbell has steered Loughgiel to Ulster final

For the last few weeks, Mr and Mrs Campbell have barely spent a night at home, between one thing and another.

Johnny is busy managing Loughgiel hurlers to tomorrow's Ulster hurling final against Slaughtneil (Athletic Grounds, 2.30pm), while wife Charlene is not only the physio to Loughgiel hurlers but will also be captaining the Loughgiel camogie team in the Ulster final against - amazingly - the same opposition for the curtain-raiser (throw-in 12.30pm).

"It's not too bad," laughs Johnny Campbell about the revolving door to the homeplace.

"Charlene is out every night of the week to be fair to her. She obviously has her own training and then she is doing physio for us as well. She is putting in a fair few hours."

In his first year as manager since retiring with a niggling hip injury, Campbell finds himself in an Ulster final.

"If somebody had said to me this time last year that I would be managing a team or be part of a management team heading into the Ulster final, I would have had some laugh at them," he reflects.

He is mindful of the threat tomorrow's opponents carry. Although no Derry club has ever won the Ulster Senior Championship, there is a case to be made that Slaughtneil, having lost two of the last three finals, are due to break that record especially after having pushed All-Ireland finalists Cushendall to extra-time last year.

"I was down at it and I think it was the best Ulster final I was ever at," recalls Campbell.

And, he pays tribute to Slaughtneil's durability in both codes. "It is testament to the way they can do it, to the hours they put into it to get the boys right to play," he says.

"They have had their county final and one thing and another. I only hope our fellas can have the intensity they bring to it.

"Whether we can come out on the right side of it or not, I don't know. But I am looking forward to it."

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