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Slaughtneil fired up by bid for historic treble: Rogers

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By Declan Bogue

Just over two weeks back, Brendan Rogers was one of the men that made history in the Athletic Grounds when Slaughtneil became the first Derry club to win an Ulster hurling title.

Now, they stand on the precipice of an enormous achievement, where Slaughtneil can become the first club to ever win provincial honours at camogie, hurling and football in the one year, when they take on Kilcoo in the Ulster football final on November 27.

And Rogers believes the Armagh venue is a lucky omen for the south Derry men.

"I suppose you could say that," he said after their commanding win over Tyrone champions Killyclogher.

"I am sure that most teams are happy to come here - it's very central, it's a quality pitch particularly at this time of the year and there's always a good atmosphere.

"It's nice to know your surroundings. You can really feel there that the crowd is behind you and that helps to lift you."

With Slaughtneil and Kilcoo kept apart until now by the draw, there is no doubt that the best two county representatives in this Ulster campaign will face each other in the final.

The two have never faced each other in this competition, but such is the popularity of the TG4 coverage of the winter action, and the proliferation of video tape on opponents, that Slaughtneil are admirers of what Kilcoo have achieved in their backyard.

"Kilcoo have been there or thereabouts before now so this will be a massive, massive game. We will probably need to play twice as well against them as we did against Killyclogher if we are to have any chance of winning," Rogers acknowledged.

"We are looking forward to it very much because we want to be playing big games.

"We want to be pitting ourselves against the best teams and that's how you get that feelgood factor around the club," he said.

"There is always plenty of hype surrounding big games against good teams and that's what we're looking forward to now against Kilcoo. We have to get our heads down and keep going on the training ground for another two weeks."

In their three years playing at this level, and recognising that they won the Ulster title in their first season of 2014, Slaughtneil are nonetheless a more polished outfit by this stage.

Rogers spelled out their progression in their own individual games, stating: "We have learned to be more patient when in possession.

"Mickey Moran is always preaching about calmness when in possession. Against Killyclogher, this was another instance where we played the way we train with patience the key to our performance."

Rogers hailed their second half display against Killyclogher as their finest since the 2014 season.

"Maybe it took our bad performance against Derrygonnelly in the quarter-final to have brought this good display out of us," he said.

"Our 'B' team gave us a fair rattle at training over this past couple of weeks and maybe that was the kick up the backside we needed to get over a game like this."

Belfast Telegraph


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