Damien Barton in frame for Derry post
The Derry county board will meet this week to discuss the managerial vacancy which has arisen following Damien Cassidy’s decision not to seek a third year in charge of the Oak Leaf football side.
While there is considerable speculation that Liam Bradley may be enticed away from Antrim, there is also the possibility that former Derry All Ireland winner Damien Barton may enter the frame.
Bradley, who has reinvigorated Antrim since taking over from Jody Gormley two years ago, is currently helping out his club Glenullin, who beat Dungiven in the Derry championship at the weekend with Bradley’s son Eoin scoring six points including the match-winner.
Antrim chairman John McSparran has already moved to extinguish the flames of speculation by reiterating that he expects Bradley to remain in charge of the Saffrons for another term.
Bradley took Glenullin to the Derry county title two years ago — their first such success for a quarter of a century — and has remained close to the club to which his sons Paddy and Eoin have given great service over the years.
The possible entry of Barton into the race for the Derry manager’s job will add a fresh dimension to the contest. The Newbridge man has already cut his teeth in the club management sphere having been in charge of sides such as Donaghmore and Burren.
Known for his straightforward approach, Barton has an in-depth knowledge of Derry football at all levels and of course was a colleague of Damien Cassidy in the 1993 All Ireland winning side under the baton of the late Eamonn Coleman.
Derry officials have already confirmed that they are in no rush to make an appointment but have expressed the hope that the new manager will be able to harness the fresh talent that Cassidy introduced into a winning blend.
Meanwhile, Darren Chapman remains in pole position to succeed Malachy O’Rourke as Fermanagh manager.
Chapman impressed as manager of the Under-21 side and the feeling within the county would appear to be that he should be given his chance at senior level.
Whoever takes over faces a tough task as Fermanagh will be playing in Division Four of the National League — a division from which they will be expected to make a quick jump back into Division Three.