GAA Football

Derry needs "thriving club scene" to compete long-term: McIver

Down GAA Senior Football Championship Final Between Kilcoo and Burren.14/10/2018.Kilcoo Paul McIver.Pic Philip Walsh..

DERRY managerial candidate Paul McIver believes Derry football must have “an absolutely thriving” club scene in order for the county to be competitive in the long term.

The Ballinderry native has told The Irish News that he is keen to get involved in inter-county football in the near future, but says he will only go for the manager’s post if he can secure the backroom team he wants.

The successful former Kilcoo, Dromore, Derry minor and under-21 boss also said he was open to the possibility of joining up as part of someone else’s backroom team.

Despite the fact that they could well end up playing in a ‘B’ championship next summer, the Derry job is intriguing to many because of the band of underage teams on their way through.

However, McIver believes that in order for the county to climb the ranks at senior level, there must be a focus put on developing the depth of quality at club level.

“I don’t buy in to underage success. There’s a massive, massive gap between underage success or club success and county football.

“I hear this all the time about great club sides and this sort of stuff, there’s no correlation.

“Take Corofin, the best club side about at the minute and the football they play is on a different planet. Would they compete against any of the top 10 inter-county teams? Not a chance. It’s a completely different animal.

“Bridging that gap between under-21s and seniors, even at inter-county level, is absolutely massive.

“You bridge it by making sure your club scene is absolutely thriving. The club scene, to me, has to be real, real tough football and every point that you go for counts.

“The more football the better. I know there are a lot of complaints about the amount of club matches played in Tyrone, but see the eight club matches they’ve played, the quality and intensity and aggression of them… You look at Tyrone club football and on any given day, any one of the teams in the top division can beat each other.

“That’s where you bridge the gap. When I was involved with Dromore for three years, I went home every Sunday night with my head thumping with the intensity of it.

“If you fell asleep for five minutes and a team pulled a move, you were at fault as the manager.

“I can’t say I’ve been to any other county where I’ve gone home and my head’s been thumping sore because you just had to concentrate that much. We have to get to that level.”

Meanwhile, Malachy O’Rourke has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Oak Leaf gig.

It’s understood that he was approached by Derry officials but is determined to take a year out of inter-county football in 2020.

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