Three former county players have come in for glowing praise from Ulster Council president Aoghan Farrell following triumphs in the management sphere
Ryan McMenamin, who just recently stepped aside from the inter-county arena having won three All-Ireland titles with Tyrone, guided Dromore to the county U21 Grade One championship title for the first time on Monday while, 24 hours later, Enda Gormley, an All-Ireland medal winner with Derry in 1993, masterminded an Ulster club minor tournament coup for Watty Graham’s Glen at the expense of Ardboe.
And former Tyrone forward Ciaran McBride, who is a member of the high-profile Football Review Committee, has just steered Omagh CBS to a Corn na nOg trophy success.
Now the trio are being tipped to advance their managerial careers and Farrell believes they have set a “shining example” to other players who may have called time on their playing careers.
“The fact that people like Ryan, Enda and Ciaran are prepared to put so much back into the GAA speaks volumes for them as people and also emphasises the strong commitment they have to their clubs and schools,” says Farrell,
“This is the very essence of the GAA — club and community spirit and giving of yourself for your family, friends and, indeed, for the next generation.
“They are setting a shining example in my view.”
Farrell’s exhortation to other former players to come on board the management train is complemented by a plea from Ulster boss Joe Kernan for them to consider refereeing should they decline managerial roles.
Farrell endorses this suggestion, expressing the hope that such players will not be lost to the Association.
“There is no substitute for experience and players who have been accustomed to performing at the top level have, I feel, a lot to offer and it’s very encouraging to see many of them prepared to take their coaching badges shortly after they hang up their boots,” adds Farrell.
For McMenamin, Dromore’s triumph in the Tyrone U21 sector was particularly sweet. He had been involved in coaching many of the players at juvenile level and has watched as their careers flourish.
“These boys were prepared to make big sacrifices and now this has paid off for them,” he says. “They volunteered for extra training and they did not go out socially on Boxing Night. As a matter of fact, we had a full attendance at training on Boxing Day. That shows you their level of commitment.”
And Enda Gormley is equally enthusiastic about his ebullient Watty Graham’s minor side which displayed a level of confidence and maturity in winning the minor club tournament that belied their tender years.
“These boys have a great attitude, they play to win at all times. No matter what they are asked to do they do it and they fully deserve the success they have achieved,” said Gormley.