DERRY GAA: ‘Why not shoot all the hurlers? - asks frustrated McGilligan

Dejected Banagher players after losing out to Slaughtneil in the Derry Senior Hurling Championship final at Owenbeg.  (Pic: Margaret McLaughlin)

Dejected Banagher players after losing out to Slaughtneil in the Derry Senior Hurling Championship final at Owenbeg. (Pic: Margaret McLaughlin)

Banagher manager Brian McGilligan lashed out at the County Board for scheduling a Reserve Championship hurling match just 24 hours after the county final.

The St. Mary’s second string were scheduled to take on Lavey on Monday evening with the club’s footballers also down to meet Ballinderry in the football Championship on Friday and McGilligan says he cannot understand the logic.

“I’m in a privileged position here,” explained McGilligan, “We are working with a maximum panel of 25. We haven’t the luxury of these other clubs who have 40 plus players. These same guys are out playing football on Friday night again, the same guys.

“There is no such thing as going for a beer tonight or anything like that. The County Board have decided to throw in a reserve hurling match tomorrow night as well. Why do they not just shoot all the hurlers?

“They are treating us like dirt. It doesn’t make sense. What is the big rush? It’s not as if everything is going to close down in the next few days. A reserve hurling match tomorrow night! It doesn’t give anyone a chance to promote the game.”

McGilligan said he was proud of his players but admitted Slaughtneil’s greater experience had carried them through.

“We knew before we went out it was going to be a hard task and I suppose the conditions didn’t help. It would have been interesting to see on a nice Sunday afternoon with no breeze.

“It was a game of two halves. We made too many mistakes in the first half and Slaughtneil built too much of a lead. It was a hard ask to claw it back after half-time.

“We had a number of goal chances and didn’t take them but the other side of the coin, Slaughtneil were that bit cuter. They have been around this scene now for four or five years. They made better decisions than we did and that was the difference between winning and losing.

“Basically where we are now is where Slaugtneil where four years ago. They have been playing at the top level the last four years and you could see that. They have some very good individuals and their decision making on the field was better than ours.

“You tell the boys these things at half-time but when you are in the thick of the action it’s not always as easy to make the right decision. That comes down to experience.

“Bar three fellas who are over 30, this is a young team so hurling is looking bright in Banagher right now and if these players keep at it, they are a very talented bunch of players and a privilege to work with.”