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Chrissy epitomises spirit of the GAA

Chrissy McKaigue
Chrissy McKaigue
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Anyone who has caught a few of Chrissy McKaigue's interviews down through the years will have got the message now that this is not just some process-driven automaton who doesn't see the world around him.

During Slaughtneil's numerous forays through the latter stages of Ulster and All-Ireland competitions, his prominent role with the International Rules teams and now as Derry captain, he manages to crystalise with few words what the purpose of the GAA as a sporting body should be about.

His work as a Gaelic games co-ordinator with St Mary's Limavady and the wider Roe Valley area has shown him that where there is concise and charismatic leadership, along with a willingness to work hard, great things can be achieved. He has spoken before about the attitude at the top end of Gaelic football and hurling at the cost of others.

It was perhaps with this in mind that he made his speech after Derry beat Leitrim in the Division Four final at Croke Park last Saturday.

"It would be remiss of me not to mention Leitrim," McKaigue said.

"I mean that sincerely because the GAA is all about promoting every single county, and the journey those guys have put Leitrim fans on this last while has been incredible. Three cheers for Leitrim."

Leitrim had made two appearances at Croke Park in the previous 25 years, a struggling county with the smallest population in Ireland.

In the GAA of a man like Chrissy McKaigue, something would be done to tackle an anomaly like this.

But we are not there yet.

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