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12th Jul 2021

Whether you’re Diarmuid Connolly or Paddy McBrearty, Chrissy McKaigue has a plan to stop you

Lee Costello

“He gave an exhibition of man-marking”

Slaughtneil and Derry defender, Chrissy McKaigue, kept one of the most dangerous forwards in the modern game quiet yesterday.

If you go on social media, you will see Paddy McBrearty’s incredible last-gasp point to win Donegal the game against Derry, but the 73 minutes and 58 seconds beforehand, told a different story.

McKaigue took an old-school approach of man-marking the sharp shooter, and completely nullified him for the entirety of normal time.

He pestered him, pulled him, got in his face and refused to let him out of his sight in what must have been an incredibly frustrating afternoon for McBrearty, up until that very last kick.

Speaking on the GAA Hour, Colm Parkinson was praising the return of the man-marker, to the modern game.

“The performance of the weekend has to be Chrissy McKaigue. We criticised this here on the show loads of times, that man-marking has gone out of the game, you can’t do it anymore.

“He gave an exhibition of man-marking, he didn’t care about the play, he’s a leader and just sacrificed his own game. We could see him when he got the yellow card off camera.

“Now it was illegal, what he was doing, but he was pissing McBrearty off. He was turned and facing McBrearty, and wouldn’t let him by him, he was shadowing him, and McBrearty was just throwing his hands up.

“I think that was at the stage where the linesman told the referee to mark McKaigue, but in the modern game, corner-back dogs, are not dead.

“Seán Marty Lockhart would have looked at that and gave Chrissy McKaigue a hug after the game.”

Former Dublin star, Alan Brogan was on the show, and he knew a thing or two about being man-marked in a game.

“It’s funny you should mention Seán Marty, when I get asked who the best defender I ever marked was, Seán Marty was the answer.

“I remember once playing him in a a qualifier game and I played with him for Ireland, he was exceptional, but look, I’m not surprised with Chrissy McKaigue, he’s been a top back in what’s been a poor Derry team for a few years before this.

“He’s an exceptional footballer, and he can come out and play, if he was put at number six, he could get up and he could kick, you talk about old-school men, like there isn’t many corner-backs left like that.

“He was obviously asked to do a job and he did it to perfection, but he will be pissed off with that last one, that he didn’t manage to get some sort of check or onto McBrearty’s left foot for the last one.

“He just kind of got caught on the wrong side, if he marks McBrearty’s left foot from there, he’s not scoring with his right and he’s forcing him back, so it was the only time he kind of got away.

“I’m not surprised by his performance, he’s an exceptional defender and has been for a long time.”

Parkinson also remembered the time that Chrissy McKaigue marked one of the most feared and respected forwards to ever be produced in Dublin, and how he used a completely different approach to do so.

“He has been centre-back for the last couple of years, his move into the corner-back has just made a man-marker out of him, he used to play there.

“I remember he marked Diarmuid Connolly in an All-Ireland club semi-final and we were analysing before the game, how is he going to approach this?

“So what did Chrissy do? He went out and scored four points off Connolly, and told me on the show that he didn’t actually agree with that, he wanted to mark him.

“But one of the selectors told him to go at him, put him on the back foot – he actually wanted to mark him but ended up scoring four points off him, and said ‘It was very good advice I got.’

“He loves man marking, maybe some of the corner backs these days, they love being footballers, but Chrissy looked like he really enjoyed that, he enjoyed turning his back on the play, watching McBrearty and doing that job for the team.”

You can listen to the full discussion on the GAA Hour now

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