Only 'the top man' would do as Kilcoo bring in Mickey Moran to succeed Paul McIver
KILCOO were determined to appoint “the top man” to succeed Paul McIver and they did just that by bringing in Ulster Club Championship winner Mickey Moran as their new senior manager.
Maghera native Moran, who will have former Derry star Conleith Gilligan and Ballinascreen clubman Paul Devlin in his backroom team, brings a wealth of experience and a glittering CV to the ambitious county Down outfit.
He guided Slaughtneil to four Derry titles in four years as well as three Ulster titles and two All-Ireland finals and he inherits a Kilcoo side that had won six in-a-row in Down before McIver’s injury-depleted side lost this year’s county final to Burren.
Moran’s appointment came in the same week that Kilcoo opened a new community hall/sports facility and club chairman Terry O’Hanlon says ‘the Magpies’ are already looking forward to next season.
“Everybody in he club is looking forward to having Mickey on board,” he said.
“The committee ratified him, the players have met him and we’re all looking forward to the first round of the Down senior championship in 2019.
“We never get ahead of ourselves in Kilcoo and we’re delighted Mickey is coming down.
“Conleith Gilligan is coming with him and Paul Devlin, who is mentoring with Mickey and will share the driving.”
Paul McIver took over from Jim McCorry (the architect of the championship wins in 2012, ’13 and ’14) in late 2014 and seamlessly continued Kilcoo’s dominance in Down by guiding the club to three more county titles before he stepped down after the loss to Burren.
“Paul had a tough act to follow after Jim McCorry and Mickey will have a tough act to follow after Paul,” said O’Hanlon.
“The dedication that the McIver family showed to our club has been unreal.
“Mickey has a lot of experience with high profile players – we have six or seven high-profile players who have been on county panels and he has dealt with county panels in Mayo, Leitrim, Sligo, Derry and Donegal, so his record speaks for itself.”
With a deep reservoir of experienced players to work with and new talent coming through the Eoghan Rua club’s ranks all the time, Moran, Gilligan and Devlin will have a talented and determined squad to work with when pre-season training begins early next year.
“We didn’t see that losing to Burren was the end of the road but we did think that we needed to go back and refocus,” said O’Hanlon.
“That’s why we brought Mickey Moran in; to refocus the whole club.
“We won an U16 Ulster title three years ago and they are coming through and we had players who won an All-Ireland Feile and they are now 25-26 and we still have Conor Laverty, Aidan Branagan, Sean O’Hanlon, Gerard McAvoy… All those boys are still there; we had no retirements.
“We had to go for the top man and we’re delighted that Mickey took up the challenge. We’re all refocused in the club.
He added: “Getting a man of his calibre in as manager says a lot about the club, it says a lot about the man who opens the gates and does the field to the tea ladies to the committee. It’s great to be part of it and I can’t emphasize enough how delighted we are to get Mickey in.”
Meanwhile, Terry’s son Darragh O’Hanlon is continuing his recovery after undergoing spinal surgery to resolve a back injury.
“Darragh is through his operation,” said Terry.
“He is going to see his surgeon on the 20th and he is looking forward to hopefully getting back. It’s early days but everything is looking positive for him.”