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McKaigue urges Oak Leafs to shatter Tyrone jinx

 

By John Campbell

Derry defender Chrissy McKaigue may have had a busy year to date because of Slaughtneil's commitments in the All-Ireland Club Football and Hurling Championships, but this does not prevent him from remaining fully focused on his county's forthcoming Ulster Championship clash with Tyrone.

While he will continue to follow his career as a dual player at county level, McKaigue has no intention of offering excuses for any perceived shortcomings by Derry to date in either code.

"We were very disappointed not to stay in Division Two of the league but this game against Tyrone is a huge match for Derry because we all know what happened when we played them on five occasions last year (defeat every time). We have to try and turn the tables round," insisted McKaigue.

Ultimately, Derry's defensive deficiencies contributed to their demotion to Division Three but the recent return of players like McKaigue and his Slaughtneil colleagues Brendan Rogers, Padraig Cassidy and Karl McKaigue has helped to strengthen manager Damian Barton's hand.

The Oak Leaf side underlined their growing strength in depth to some extent in their last league game when they defeated Fermanagh.

James Kielt came on for the emerging Danny Tallon, Mark Lynch replaced Emmet McGuckin, Ryan Bell replaced Benny Heron and Gavin O'Neill stepped in for Danny Heavron to illustrate that Barton's resources have been bolstered.

Barton believes that his hitherto porous defence can be shored up and McKaigue is convinced that the team's hunger and desire will be pronounced against the Red Hands.

"We know how important this match is and also what it means to both us and to the Derry supporters," he said.

McKaigue, meanwhile, is among several Derry players who are helping to promote the major Man of Sperrin cycling event which will take place on Sunday, June 11 over the notorious Benbradagh course in the Sperrin Mountains.

The event will help to raise funds for Derry GAA and it's the gruelling Five Peaks part of the itinerary that has already created considerable debate in south Derry.

"It's a massive test for cyclists - Benbradagh is horrific," said race partner and former GAA journalist Paddy Heaney.

There you have it!

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