Slaughtneil boost as Mickey Moran and Michael McShane commit to another year
SLAUGHTNEIL’S hopes of retaining their multitude of football and hurling titles have been given a boost by the news that both management teams will remain in place.
There had been speculation that Mickey Moran would step down at the end of Slaughtneil’s campaign but club chairman Sean McGuigan confirmed to The Irish News that the veteran coach has committed to another season.
The fact that their All-Ireland club final defeat by Dr Croke’s was just 23 days before the start of the 2017 Derry club football league, which begins next Sunday, is believed to have impacted on his decision.
His assistant John Joe Kearney and club stalwart Willie Hampson will both remain in the backroom team, but Moran’s son Antoin has stepped down from his role and Slaughtneil are in the process of trying to replace him.
That will take Moran into a fourth season at the helm. Two of his four Championship defeats came in All-Ireland finals, losing the deciders to Corofin (2014/15) and Croke’s (2016/17).
Their Ulster crown was lost to Scotstown in the autumn of 2015 but they recovered to win it for a second time, beating a fancied Kilcoo side in last season’s decider.
That was after having become only the third club to win three consecutive Derry football titles after Bellaghy and Ballinderry.
Their only other defeat in Moran’s reign so far came to Lavey in a first round game earlier that year, but they recovered through the back door to regain the Oak Leaf title.
In all, Slaughtneil have won 23 and drawn one of the 27 football Championship games they have played under him.
It’s understood that club captain Francis McEldowney will play on for another season, with the only notable retirement concerns hanging over Barry McGuigan and Padrig Kelly.
The club’s senior hurling manager Michael McShane, who helped the club become Derry’s first ever winners of the Ulster senior hurling title last October, will also remain in charge.
Slaughtneil lost their maiden All-Ireland hurling semi-final to eventual winners Cuala in February, but with a frighteningly young age profile, they look set to set to continue as a formidable force on the provincial scene.
The club has won the last four Derry hurling titles, the last two under Ballycastle native McShane after Mickey Glover had taken them to the first two.
Up until last year, they had also won eight consecutive county U21 hurling titles, a run which was finally broken by Kevin Lynch’s.