Slaughtneil's dual stars hungry for more success, maintains McShane
Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane will put his faith in no fewer than 10 dual players for Sunday's Ulster Club Hurling Championship semi-final against Down champions Ballycran at Corrigan Park, Belfast (2.30pm).
Over recent years, the 'dual factor' has been key to Slaughtneil's success in both football and hurling on both Derry and Ulster fronts, but right now McShane is particularly keen to see his team land what would be their third provincial club title.
"Obviously our dual players are key, and their experience will be extremely important on Sunday," said McShane.
"While we have been happy to achieve success at county and provincial level, we would love to gain All-Ireland success, but we will take one step at a time."
Paul McNeill, Karl McKaigue, Shane McGuigan, Meehaul McGrath, Chrissy McKaigue, Gerald Bradley, Brendan Rodgers, Sé McGuigan , Brian Cassidy and Cormac O'Doherty are the 10 dual players on whom McShane will largely pin his hopes of maintaining the team's surge.
"Obviously these boys have a lot of games under their belts, but they still have a great appetite for success which I see as tremendously encouraging," pointed out McShane.
"There is everything to play for. Ballycran will be well fired up for this game having won the Down title and they will be keen to push on and take things to the next level.
"We will be taking nothing for granted, that's for sure."
While Brendan Rodgers has returned from injury, there is still a doubt about Cormac O'Doherty, but manager McShane nonetheless feels he has the strength in depth to cope with Sunday's challenge.
"We have boys on the bench who are very keen to get game time and this helps to keep everyone on their toes," he added.
Ballycran may not quite boast a record to match Slaughtneil of late but they are certainly not short on skill and experience with players such as Conor Woods, Phelim Savage, Scott Nicholson, Cormac McAllister and Colm McManus in their side.
Slaughtneil are not the only Ulster side which will place strong faith in dual players this weekend though.
When St Gall's meet Swatragh in the Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship semi-final, they will parade a number of players who have long since made an impact as footballers of real quality.
Karl Stewart, the McGourty brothers CJ and Kieran, and Sean Burke are just some of the St Gall's players who are proficient in both hurling and football, and they will all play a big role.
They will be meeting a Swatragh side which is an amalgamation of youth and experience in a semi-final showdown that is already garnering considerable interest.