DERRY GAA; Kearney salutes Slaughtneil’s double heroes

Slaughtneil players celebrate their win in Celtic Park on Sunday.''(Photo Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com)

Slaughtneil players celebrate their win in Celtic Park on Sunday.''(Photo Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com)

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Slaughtneil manager John Joe Kearney admitted his side were hanging on at the end of Sunday’s county final but paid tribute to the spirit of his back-to-back champions.

“We are good at protecting a lead but we were hanging on by a thread in the closing minutes,” admitted Kearney, “We did miss a few crucial scores. There were chances late on in the second half when we maybe took the wrong option, giving a pass when we should have gone for a score.”

“I said a week ago it was going to be another game like the Ballinascreen one, with the two teams setting up very much the same way and you have to play against it and cope with it the best way you can.”

The Slaughtneil manager said the victory was about the squad the club had managed to develop with every man playing his part.

““The fact that we nearly got knocked out earlier on this year in the championship was motivation but once we got into winning ways, we said to ourselves that now we were not going to be stopped, that we were going to try and win another championship and we did.

“We are very fortunate to have this group of players. We don’t have just a group of 15 players, we have 30 and on any given day we are confident that any one of them could come in a do a job. And that’s the plus, the big plus as a lot of other clubs when they look into the dug-out don’t have the amount of players to call on that we have.”

In relation to the upcoming Ulster Club Championship, Kearney was understandably cautious.

“That’s a big ask,” he explained, “Last year nearly all our games went down to the wire, with the Ulster final won with the last kick of the ball. You can never say from one game to the next how things are going to work out. But for commitment our players will give a 110 percent!”