Shane McGuigan on Derry's fierce club rivalries affecting the county team 1 year ago

Shane McGuigan on Derry's fierce club rivalries affecting the county team

"Maybe in the past it's something that has maybe crept in."

Slaughtneil, Glen, Ballinderry, Bellaghy, Magherafelt, these are all big clubs in Derry and the rivalry that they have with one-another is absolutely fierce.


It's the reason why the Derry championship is so competitive and enjoyable to watch. The quality is high and the battles up and down the county on a club championship weekend are explosively tempestuous and passionate.

However, it is long believed that this tribalism among the clubs is the reason that Derry's performances have suffered on the inter-county stage. It's been five years since they last won a championship match, despite boasting a talented roster of players to choose from.

Slaughtneil and Derry's star forward, Shane McGuigan, joined Colm Parkinson on the GAA Hour, who put this idea to him.

"You always hear this theory that Derry underachieve because they hate each other at club level and they can't leave that at the dressing room door, when they are with the county.


"Where has this come from or is this still the case?"

"I don't know where this has come from," admitted McGuigan. "You go out in a club match and you play with your heart on your sleeve, there's no question about it, but as soon as we get the boys up around Owenbeg, we're there for each other.

"Maybe in the past it's something that has maybe crept in, I don't think it's ever been as serious as people have talked about.


"The Slaughtneil boys are all playing for the Slaughtneil boys, the Glen boys are all playing for the Glen boys - I don't think it's ever been as serious as that.

"Rory did come in though and he demanded that we need to be more as one. We need to be living and breathing with each other and we have committed to each other better, definitely, but I don't think it's been as serious a thing as people have made it out to be."

Championship success may still be eluding Derry for the time being, but they have locked another trophy away in the cabinet after beating Offaly in the Division 3 final on Saturday.

At his usual number 14, McGuigan didn't have his usual man of the match performance, hitting a few wides and missing a penalty late on in the game.


However, one moment of magic and sublime skill early on in the game became the main talking point, when he took a sideline kick from an outrageous angle. Using the inside of his left boot, he curled it over the bar and was such a thing of beauty that it started doing the rounds on social media, with people retweeting and sharing it repeatedly.

"It wasn't my best day", confessed the sharp shooter. "I could have, or should have, been walking away with 2-10 at least, and I know that later in the championship I'll have to be slotting the chances over.

"I'm glad that it [the sideline] has made more headlines than the penalty, but I just can't get the penalty out of my head. It was a good strike, I caught it clean and felt it coming off the foot, but I can't get the penalty out of my head so I won't be getting carried away with the point."


You can listen to the full interview on the GAA Hour show now!