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Barton is a good appointment for Derry says McGuckin - The Irish News
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GAA Football

Barton is a good appointment for Derry says McGuckin

BACKING: New Derry senior football manager Damian Barton with Derry chairman Brian Smith and Hugh and Anne McWilliams of H&A Mechanical Services Ltd, the new sponsors of Derry’s inter-county football and hurling teams at minor, U21 and senior level Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Cahair O'Kane

DERRY legend Adrian McGuckin has welcomed the appointment of Damien Barton as Brian McIver’s successor.

1993 All-Ireland winner Barton was handed a two-year term after being ratified by the county committee at Owenbeg on Tuesday evening.

Aside from the weight carried by his playing career, the new Oak Leaf boss also brings a wealth of managerial experience amassed over more than 15 years.

His first major job was with McGuckin’s club Ballinderry, whom he took to county finals in 1999 and 2000. The Shamrocks lost both and Barton stepped down, to be replaced by Brian McIver, who led Ballinderry to the elusive county title before going on to claim a famous All-Ireland club crown.

Barton also managed Burren (2008/9) and Slaughtneil (2010-12), taking the latter to a county final which they lost narrowly to a Coilin Devlin goal.

The Emmets went on to also reach an All-Ireland final under Mickey Moran after Barton vacated the post, but he is credited with laying the platform.

Former Derry joint-manager McGuckin believes that the qualities Barton displayed during his time with Ballinderry will carry through.

“I’m pleased, I think it’s a good appointment. I think he’ll bring a lot to it. He’ll bring hard work to it, I know he works really hard at his job, he goes the extra mile.

“Going from his time at Ballinderry, boys were very happy with him during that period. He never left the place. He was down during the day, visiting players. He’s a very strict disciplinarian and big into fitness.

“Our boys would have the highest regard for him. The thing that has gone against him is that he hasn’t got his hands on a cup in all that time.

“You can be unlucky in those situations and, to be fair to him, the teams that he did manage came good in a short period of time after him.

“But our boys would definitely regard Damien as having an impact on them at that particular time of their development.

“And he’s a player that’s walked the walk – he’s been up the steps on the third Sunday in September, which very few people from Derry will ever be able to say.”

High on his list of priorities will no doubt be enquiring about the futures of some of Derry’s more experienced players.

While the squad that Brian McIver has left behind is embellished by plenty of youth, they were still relying upon Fergal Doherty and Patsy Bradley at midfield, despite both having been plagued by injury.

Gerard O’Kane may also return having opted out last year, while there will be renewed calls for the return of Paddy Bradley, whose form over the last 18 months has earned a recall, McGuckin believes.

However, the long-serving former St. Patrick’s Maghera MacRory Cup coach says that, on the whole, the emphasis may be better placed on youth.

“How beneficial are they really going to be if he does get [the older players] back on board? How much has Fergal left in him, if you visualise him playing in an Ulster final?

“Derry’s expectations can’t be that high. I know you have to set them high, but have we got the players available to us at the minute to really be competing in Croke Park in the middle of August?

“We have got a lot of decent young players from the 18-22 age bracket. Is Damien’s brief going to be to give those lads two years and bring them on to a reasonable standard, so that they’re up there?

“I think most people would be happy then, that we have a competitive team, that we have good organisation and that we can see the development in them.”

GAA Football

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