Brian McIver will be returning to familiar territory when he enters MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey as part of the Down management team for Sunday’s Ulster championship tie against Donegal.
McIver was in charge of Donegal when they won their only National League title to date in 2007 but was unable to bring championship success to the county although he steered the side into the 2006 Ulster final in which they lost to Armagh.
Having led Ballinderry to the All Ireland club title in 2002 his entry into county team management was a formality but although he re-shaped the Donegal side they continued to fall short when it mattered most.
Now McIver, regarded as an astute coach and excellent motivator, is proving a driving force within the Down set-up in tandem with manager James McCartan and trainer Paddy Tally. Prior to becoming involved with Down he managed Armagh club Dromintee taking them into a county final in which they lost to Crossmaglen Rangers.
Meanwhile, there could be at least one surprise choice in the Donegal side for Sunday. Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy is a strong candidate for a place in the attack and the experienced Colm McFadden could find himself making way for the prodigiously talented 19-year-old sharpshooter.
Paddy McGrath, who performed well with the Under-21 side that reached the All Ireland final only to lose to Dublin, is also pushing for recognition against Down as is versatile forward Leo McLoone who also stamped his imprint on Donegal’s Under-21 odyssey.
DONEGAL (Possible): M Durkan; P McGrath (or F McGlynn), E McGee, K Lacey; K Cassidy, B Monaghan, M Maguire; N Gallagher, R Kavanagh; B Dunnion, C Dunne, C Toye; D Molloy (or C McFadden), M Murphy, L McLoone