Four members of the famous north-west McGoldrick sporting family distinguished themselves when Coleraine Eoghan Rua swept to a stunning triumph in the Derry senior football championship this year.
Rated as no-hopers at the outset of the competition, Coleraine played with such spirit, commitment and skill that as the championship evolved their stock soared.
And in the wake of their superb victory in the final over Ballinderry, Coleraine went on to further bolster their reputation in the Ulster Club championship, only falling to Down champions Burren after a dour battle at Newry.
Now three of the McGoldrick brothers — Barry, Sean Leo and Ciaran — are hoping to transport their fine club form into the Derry side, particularly for the National League which gets under way in just over a month’s time.
And they could hardly be provided with a much bigger incentive to make new manager John Brennan’s first league match squad.
“We will be meeting Tyrone at home on the first Sunday in February and it probably does not get any bigger than this in terms of a local derby.
“Last year we were both in Division One but we made the drop together and now the two counties are desperately anxious to get back into the top bracket as quickly as possible,” explains Barry McGoldrick.
“We would be happy to have home advantage for this match and John Brennan is naturally very keen that we should get a couple of early points under our belts.
“While we were thrilled with Coleraine’s performances last year, we now have to focus on the future. Derry have not been in the championship limelight for some years and the hope is that we can maybe come good this time round.”
The McGoldricks, renowned for their commitment and sportsmanship, can expect to have key roles as Brennan, who boasts a fine record in club management, commences the task of overseeing what he hopes will be a Derry renaissance.
He has been carefully crafting his panel since taking over from Damian Cassidy and has already given a firm indicator that experienced players will form the underbelly of his side.
It was in 1998 that Derry last won the Ulster championship title and since then the Oak Leaf county has watched Tyrone and Armagh dominate the competition, the Orchard county in particular having claimed seven of the last 11 titles on offer.
It is understood that Brennan has yet to confirm his captain for 2011. Last year utility player Gerard O’Kane led the Oak Leaf county and may well wear the skipper’s armband again although it is possible that no confirmation on the captain’s identity will be made until after the McKenna Cup.
Derry begin the new season in this competition with a home fixture against Monaghan on Sunday week before travelling to take on Cavan on Saturday January 15. They conclude their scheduled programme of McKenna Cup fixtures by hosting Queen’s University the following week.