By Michael McMullan
ULSTER senior hurling champions Sleacht Néill will need to iron out their shaky starts ahead of the defence of the Four Seasons Cup insists Shane McGuigan.
The Emmet’s shot 13 first-half wides and had to come from a 0-6 to 0-5 interval deficit to win a tenth successive Derry hurling title on Sunday.
McGuigan but the equalizing point within 16 seconds of the restart with Jerome McGuigan’s 45th minute goal opening up a six-point lead on the way to a 2-18 to 1-8 win.
“Despite all the wides they were probably the team that was more up for it,” McGuigan said of their opponents’’ first half performance.
“It is something we have talked about, a slow start, it has happened to us a few times. We played Swatragh in Sleacht Neill (in the group stages) and they got a good start on us too, so it is something we know we have to correct going forward to play the champions of Down.
“Portaferry by all accounts are flying and Ballycran are still there too, but we will get a look at them in the weeks ahead and that should set us up for another Ulster campaign.”
It was McGuigan’s ninth season involved in their recent run of success that takes them to 16 senior titles in all. Chrissy McKaigue and Sé McGuigan started in all ten final wins, with Brendan Rogers and Cormac O’Doherty playing a part in all tenl.
“Look, especially Chrissy, you know the animal and operator he is. It is a credit to him and if you heard him at half-time and before the match, he is as hungry as ever.”