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Ulster duo strive to end Slaughtneil heroics in London

By Declan Bogue

Slaughtneil continue their dizzying journey in an All-Ireland Club Championship quarter-final in London this weekend, with two Ulstermen threatening to make their trip more than uncomfortable.

Mickey Moran's men fly to the English capital to take on London champions St Kiernan's this Sunday, with throw-in scheduled for 1pm.

The game will be hosted at Greenford, the home of Tir Chonaill Gaels, with London's usual county ground Ruislip currently undergoing some much-needed redevelopment.

Ciaran Carville, St Kiernan's forward from Teconnaught in Down, said: "We are going to have to try and take our chance while it is here, because it might not come around again."

St Kiernan's won their first ever London title back in late October with a 0-12 to 0-5 triumph over defending champions Tir Chonaill Gaels.

The British representatives have caused discomfort in the past for Ulster teams at the quarter-final stage, most notably Ballinderry and Crossmaglen.

Carville, who also has his Teconnaught clubmate Mark Mulholland in the St Kiernan's half-back line, believes they can take advantage of any Slaughtneil complacency.

"A lot of teams, a bit like myself whenever I first came over to London, don't think that the standard is going to be comparable," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"So any provincial champions coming over to play the London winners, they might expect to come over and have a walk in the park. Even London county, if you got them in the Championship you would be rubbing your hands together.

"They might be coming over a little bit complacent and we just have to try to take advantage."

Coming from a small club himself, Carville acknowledges the rich successes of Slaughtneil over the course of the past year - they became the first club to win the Ulster football, hurling and camogie titles in the same year.

He said: "I definitely admire them. For any club to be able to win football, hurling and camogie Ulster titles, never mind just their county titles, it is some achievement. And for such a small, rural place too."

Carville came over to work as a shuttering joiner in London at the end of last May and, after being persuaded by Mulholland, who has been living there for close to a decade, threw his lot in with the team from Kingsbury, who are situated in north west London.

"I fancied seeing what it would be like to play in a Senior Championship, rather than a Junior or Intermediate back home," he explained.

"But then I looked at it closely and saw that there was very little difference in the standard.

"It can be strange in some ways, the football over here. It looks a bit different. The real deal breaker for me was when we went home and played a Connacht team, Tuam Stars, and ran them close.

"With the top teams, I can't pinpoint any difference."

Belfast Telegraph

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