Sean Leo McGoldrick will have cause to be particularly grateful to his father should he find himself immersed in Derry’s forthcoming Ulster Championship campaign.
Dad Sean, the former Antrim dual star, took the bold gamble to convert his son from a lively attacking ace to a versatile defender while managing the Coleraine Eoghan Roes club side and now Sean Leo is further justifying his father’s wisdom at county level.
And as Derry remain on course to retain their National League title, thoughts are already turning to a possible assault on the Ulster title.
It’s in his current role as left-half-back in an admittedly ever-changing Derry side that Sean Leo has laid down a marker in relation to his capabilities.
Derry manager Damien Cassidy, who can now boast that he has two players for virtually every position in his side, has already shown considerable faith in Sean Leo who has played alongside his brother Barry in the Derry half-back line in the recent games against Kerry and Galway.
But although his man-marking, ball-carrying and shooting skills have already made him a favourite with Oak Leaf fans, Sean Leo is taking nothing for granted.
“There is an awful lot of strength in depth in this Derry squad and no player could be said to be sure of his position. I am just very fortunate to be in there at the moment but there are a number of guys who could find
themselves included for Saturday’s game against Tyrone who maybe missed the Galway game,” points out Sean Leo.
Cassidy’s rotation system is very much on a par of that exercised by Jose Mourinho when he was manager of Chelsea - he, too, was spolied for choice!
Cassidy even left out his skipper Fergal Doherty for last Sunday’s important clash with Galway and his decision was more than vindicated when Enda Muldoon and Patsy Bradley formed the engine -room and emerged as two of Derry’s heroes, Bradley’s work-rate hugely impressive and Muldoon’s fetching and finishing almost flawless.
When he took over as Derry boss some months ago, Cassidy made it clear that he would be doing things his way - something that surprised noone given that he has always been his own man.
To date, his philosophy is bearing fruit as Derry are tucked in behind Kerry and Galway in the Division One table but the pragmatic Cassidy insists that the biggest tests lie ahead for both himself and his palyers.
“While it is encouraging to have acquired relative safety in Division
One, it is still early days. Obviously the National League is hotting up and the bext two rounds of games will be absolutely vital for many teams in terms of promotion and relegation. My prime aim is to find what I believe to be my best Championship side - anything else is a bonus,” says Cassidy.