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Pain of decade-old defeat still provides incentive for Feeney


By John Campbell

Keelan Feeney is one of the young guns in the Slaughtneil side but a gut-wrenching defeat to Ballinderry in the Derry Championship final a decade ago at which he was a 10-year-old spectator still provides him with the spur to bring even more silverware to the club.

Now a dynamic wing-back known for his relentless work rate and ability to link defence and attack, the wiry Feeney believes that Slaughtneil can make it third time lucky if they can reach next month's All-Ireland Club final.

But first they have to hurdle a formidable Nemo Rangers side who in reaching tomorrow's semi-final overcame reigning All-Ireland champions Dr Crokes in the Munster decider.

It was in 2015 that Slaughtneil reached their first national final when they lost to Galway side Corofin (1-14 to 0-7), who are already through to this year's decider, before they encountered further disappointment in last year's showpiece when Dr Crokes were their conquerors (1-9 to 1-7).

"It is being said that we are writing history, but you're never happy because you always want to win more," declared Feeney.

"Our aim now is to push on and try and bring the really big trophy home. I was at the 2008 Derry final watching players like Patsy Bradley and Francis McEldowney who are still in the side, and for me to be playing alongside them now is an absolute privilege.

"When you are winning Ulster titles with them it is just fantastic but now we would like to get our hands on the big one.

"Our manager Mickey Moran knows how badly we want to win an All-Ireland title."

Meanwhile, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is expected to amend his defence for tomorrow night's Allianz League Division One tie against Monaghan in Castleblayney.

The Red Hands looked vulnerable at the back in last weekend's Dr McKenna Cup final loss against Donegal and Harte is particularly anxious that the Monaghan attack should not be afforded any degree of freedom in what he regards as a must-win game.

Monaghan's wins over Kildare and Kerry in their last two outings have added considerable spice to their shoot-out with Harte's men, the outcome of which could have a big bearing on the battle to avoid relegation to Division Two.

Tyrone have won just once in three outings, a one-point victory over Kildare, and Harte knows all too well that his side will now be under pressure to capture their best form.

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