Kilcoo boss McIver aims for high five in Down championship
KIilcoo are experiencing a honeymoon period in more ways than one as they become even more strongly focused on landing a fifth consecutive Down senior football championship title.
Three players – Stephen Smith, Niall McEvoy and Niall Branagan – have just returned from foreign parts following their weddings and manager Paul McIver is more than happy to have them on board for Sunday’s quarter-final against Warrenpoint.
“I suppose you could say we are having a honeymoon period in two senses as these three guys missed our earlier championship action and the fact that we lost to Burren has meant that we have had to pick our steps more carefully,” explains McIver.
That Burren defeat followed a win over Saval with Kilcoo then regaining their credibility by beating Loughinisland after the Burren setback.
McIver is set to have a stronger hand from which to choose as Dylan Ward and James McLean are also back in the mix although Paul Greenan is still in Australia while J J McLoughlin, a doctor, remains unavailable because of work commitments.
But the talented Johnston brothers Ryan and Jerome are likely to be still missing from his starting line-up against a Warrenpoint side still smarting from a heavy 4-12 to 0-2 league defeat at the hands of Mayobridge.
“The two lads have been missing for a while now but Ryan might just get some game time on Sunday while Jerome is maybe three or four weeks away but coming along nicely,” states McIver.
Joint captains Aidan Branagan and Conor Lavery are playing a big part in bolstering Kilcoo’s spirits as the squad sets its sights on achieving what would be a history-making feat.
“We’re taking each match as it comes. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” adds McIver, son of former Derry and Donegal boss Brian McIver.