Back in the day - Eamon Coleman back in the Derry hotseat - Oct 2 1999

Derry boss Eamon Coleman
Derry boss Eamon Coleman

DERRY last night confirmed the reappointment of Eamon Coleman as senior county manager with two new members added to his backup team.

County PRO Gerry Donnelly stated that the management team would be completed in mid-March with the anticipated arrival of last season’s joint-manager Adrian McGuckin on completion of another Sigerson Cup campaign with Jordanstown.

As expected, in McGuckin’s absence, Martin McElkennon has been drafted in to take charge of the training duties. Kildress man McElkennon was involved with Tyrone minors in 1997 and has enjoyed club coaching spells with Errigal Ciaran and Ballinascreen.

The surprise is the inclusion of Damien Cassidy as a selector, the Bellaghy player still an integral part of the Derry champions’ Ulster Club challenge.

The 33-year-old is understood to be the choice of Coleman, brought in for his respect and popularity with current players and knowledge of them.

Last season’s ‘third man’, Brendan McRory will again assume responsibility for logistics, attempting to dovetail this brief with the role of selector.

The inclusion of Cassidy and McElkennon covers for the departure of Dungiven man Eugene Kelly from the set-up and the apparently temporary absence of McGuckin.

Many will doubt that the Ballinderry clubman will return to the inter-county scene next spring but Derry PRO Donnelly was confident that the respected coach would resume his partnership with Coleman.

AIB Ulster Club Hurling Championship final Ballygalget (holders) v Cushendall (tomorrow Casement Pk 3.30pm)

These clubs have clashed in the showpiece game only once before, seven years ago. Cushendall edged it, while the north Antrim club go into the 1999 version having won six out of seven against Down sides.

Kevin Coulter’s loss as captain and full-back after breaking an arm during their semi-final win over Dungannon is a massive setback for Ballygalget.

On the plus side for Cushendall Terence McNaughton wasn’t used during the Lavey replay due to injury.

The extra week of rest might be enough to position his expert capacity for important scores, the odd goal or points, at full-forward.

Free-takers may have the biggest say, Johnny McGrattan and Martin Coulter for the champions, Conor McCambridge and Aidan Delargy for the ‘Dall.

McCambridge and Delargy showed sharp improvements in both games against Lavey, and are taken to carry the major threats to Ballygalget’s prospects.

Delargy’s other role, that of midfield if Cushendall opt for the same tactics as for the semi-final replay, could With Ballygalget sporting a strong half-forward line, Barry Coulter’s strength and distribution central to it, the Ruairi Ogs half-backs have plenty on their plate.

Barry Smith’s switch from the half-forwards to lead the Down champions’ attack at full-forward against Dungannon worked very well.

Smith is regarded as a key player by Ballygalget, and his contest with the experienced Aidan McAteer promises to be an interesting one.

Jackie Carson will also be urged for a big display for Cushendall.

Cushendall for a seventh win, 7-1 against Down opposition, or is it to be Ballygalget on the double?