2016 WAS AN incredible year for Slaughtneil, winning Ulster titles in both football and hurling, as well as camogie, making for an historic treble for the Derry club.

How and ever, 2017 is shaping up to be even better.

The footballers today booked their St Patrick’s Day All-Ireland final date in Croke Park, as they beat Diarmuid Connolly’s St Vincent’s by two points.

His marker Chrissy McKaigue didn’t give the Dublin star an inch, as he put on a heroic performance and was a major contributing factor to his side’s success.

With four points under his belt from centre-half back and a Man of the Match display, McKaigue can’t let his focus turn to the football final in Croke Park just yet though, he has another job to take care of.

One of the eight dual players and the hurling side’s captain, his attention now turns to their All-Ireland semi-final on 25 February.

“It’s one step at a time, every game seems to be bigger than the last,” he told TG4 after the game as he collected his individual accolade.

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We’ve the full emphasis on the hurling now. I’ve to get back to having the hurl in my hand, I’m not sure how that’ll go but we’ll give it a lash anyway.”

McKaigue was delighted with his side’s performance, one which saw them come from a point behind at half-time in a tough decider to edge past the Leinster champions.

“That’s what you expect when you get to this stage. The hunger is there this year, we keep talking about the heart of 2014.

“To beat a team like St Vincent’s was a massive test as people said, and it turned out that way. We don’t mind how we get over the line as long as we do, and thank God we did today.

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McKaigue captains the hurlers.

Source: Presseye/John McIlwaine/INPHO

“They have some fantastic players and sometimes the best-laid plans don’t always work. But luckily today they did. I thought our forwards moved quite well today. It’s quite a tight pitch, maybe it wasn’t a forwards game but as a defender I’m happy enough with that.”

A notable individual tally from centre back, as well as his stellar performance were some of the talking points of the game, but when praised for his efforts, McKaigue’s modesty shone through.

What a performance by @GACSlaughtneil. Chrissy McKaigue kicking 4 points and none of them easy while tasked with marking Connolly. #Leader

— Steven McDonnell (@StevenMcD13) February 11, 2017

Source: Steven McDonnell/Twitter

“When the opportunity arises now with teams playing mass defence, you can find yourself getting on to play. I’m just happy I finished a couple. I missed a couple too but hopefully I’ll get better for the next day.”

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