'It Was Quite Weird, I've Never Experienced Anything Like That'

'It Was Quite Weird, I've Never Experienced Anything Like That'

As half-time approached in Slaughtneil and Magherafelt's Derry SFC game on Sunday evening, a strange period of play began to unfold on the pitch.

For four or five minutes, nothing happened. Nothing other than Slaughtneil midfielder soloing the ball to himself and Slaughtneil playing keep ball until the half-time whistle.

Slaughtneil were a point up at the time and with their opponents putting all 15 men behind the ball, they decided to hold their lead and not fall into the defensive trap.

Boos rang out as the half eventually ended and the teams made their way off the pitch. A video of the strange moment made its way to Twitter.

Speaking on 2FM's Game On on Monday night, Slaughtneil defender Chrissy McKaigue detailed what happened and why.

"It was a pretty nasty night for football, wet and windy, the conditions were heavy underfoot," said the Derry footballer.

We were relatively content with our position, 0-4 to 0-3 up against a gale force breeze. We were just planning on getting in at half-time in touch. The fact that we were ahead was a massive bonus for us. We were praying for half-time also.

The opposition decided with half-time nearing and it being a pretty tight game that they would drop 15 behind the ball rather than pressing out.

[Instead of] us going into the trap that they were setting we just kept the ball and it just ended up with us keeping the ball and them staying where they were.

If we'd gone forward, we would have ended up playing the ball backwards and forwards anyway. Four or five of were stationed on our own 45 and no one came near us for the duration of nearly two, two-and-a-half minutes.

It was quite weird. I've been around football a fair number of years and I've never experienced anything like that.


Slaughtneil, who have claimed the last four Derry SFC titles, won the game 0-10 to 0-5.

McKaigue cannot understand why teams persist with this defensive style of play, one which he believes is only a short-term solution that will never win trophies.

"I'm just mystified as to why teams continue to do it.

"A large segment of the public are pretty frustrated with Gaelic football and where it's gone. You can see why people are frustrated with it.

"Personally, I don't think that any rules changes needed but there is an onus on the coaches to get away from that [defensive] approach.

"I'm convinced that you will not win any real prizes playing that brand of football. It's becoming easier to play against and is not attractive to watch. I don't think a team that plays that style of football will win anything, they might win a one-off game against a big team but to get sustained success, I don't think it's the way you should be playing.

"If a coach has any real ambition or wants to leave a real legacy behind them, they've got to be looking at the development of the players and the development of the club.

"It reflects the type of coaching that's going on around the country at the minute: people coming in for short terms and all they want to get is instant success."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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