Football

Former All-Ireland-winner minor manager Marty Boyle back on familiar ground with Derry U20s

Martin Boyle's Derry U20 panel is made of up of several of he successful minor players he had when he managed he county to the 2020 All-Ireland MFC title in 2021
Martin Boyle's Derry U20 panel is made of up of several of he successful minor players he had when he managed he county to the 2020 All-Ireland MFC title in 2021

Following a successful three-season stint in charge of the Derry minors, Marty Boyle has “stepped up” to take the U20s and is looking forward to getting their championship campaign underway on Wednesday evening.

The panel is made up of several All-Ireland winning minors from the class of 2020, including senior stars Eoin McEvoy, Matthew Downey and Lachlan Murray. Boyle is expecting a competitive championship, starting with a trip to Fermanagh, just as it was at minor level three years ago.

“This is our first year with the U20s after three years with the minors,” explained Boyle “We just stepped up, Paddy (Bradley) vacated the U20s, so we decided to step up and give it a rattle.

“I suppose we know the players and this team was the team that we had that won an All-Ireland at minor level. Probably the exciting thing was that we felt we could put together a panel of players, the players from our last three minor panels, which on paper was exciting.

“Obviously with injuries and other different commitments, it maybe hasn’t panned out like that, but hopefully we’ll get there. The one thing I would say on my three years at minor level, that year (2020) was the most competitive Ulster Championship, far more so than the next two years.

“There really were nine good teams and if you look back to the scores of that minor championship, it was a point or two points in most if not all the games. That bodes well for a really exciting championship and a highly competitive championship.”

The aforementioned McEvoy, Downey and Murray along with Niall O’Donnell and Mark Doherty, who are all still available for the U20s this year, provide a pathway and an inspiration to the rest of the Derry youngsters that the step up to senior level is possible.

“When you look at what Eoin’s doing and the rest of them boys, Eoin’s practically a permanent fixture in our senior team,” added Boyle. “That gives you great pride and it gives the rest of our lads a massive lift to see that there is a pathway mapped out in front of them if they really want to attack it.

“The five lads have been on the senior panel and availing of training with the calibre of players that are on the Derry senior panel and then availing of the expertise in the management team. It’s fantastic and you couldn’t wish for better for them.”