Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

McIver homing in on Ulster decider

Tyrone Senior Football final

After All-Ireland glory with Tyrone, Ryan McMenamin is targeting more club success with Dromore in the county final against Clonoe on Sunday

In the long history of Tyrone GAA, Dromore had never won a senior county championship title until 2007.

Now, suddenly, the club finds itself chasing what some would see as an improbable third crown in four years.

They are due to meet the 2008 winners Clonoe in the O’Neill county decider on Sunday week and a victory would prove a considerable feather in the cap of their personable manager Paul McIver.

Paul — son of Brian McIver who was No 2 to James McCartan in Down until recently, having previously managed Donegal — could, however, find himself ‘homing in’ on a major challenge in the Ulster Club championship should Dromore return to the Tyrone throne on which they also sat in 2009.

The winners of the Tyrone championship are due to meet the victors from Sunday’s Derry championship decider between Ballinderry and Kilrea in the Ulster Club series on October 30 – and Ballinderry is Paul’s own club.

His family has a long association with the Shamrocks but, for now, Paul is looking no further than the shoot-out against a Clonoe side which is managed by former Derry boss Damian Cassidy, who hails from Bellaghy, and who won an All Ireland medal with Derry in 1993.

“Clonoe is the only side on our radar right now. They have shown themselves once again to be a formidable championship force under Damian and now that they have reached this stage they will be very hard to beat,” observes Paul.

Cassidy has certainly reinvigorated Clonoe with his innovative training methods and motivational rhetoric.

Their impressive extra-time quarter-final win over fancied Carrickmore was followed by the clinical semi-final expulsion of Omagh St Enda’s from the title race last Sunday when Dromore were full value for their resounding 0-16 to 0-8 victory.

Backboned by Tyrone All Ireland winning aces Ryan McMenamin, Sean O’Neill, Colm McCullagh and Cathal McCarron, Dromore are viewed as favourites to emerge as kingpins in the Red Hand county but McIver jnr treats this theory with considerable caution.

“Clonoe’s track record speaks for itself, they won’t be found wanting on the day,” he adds.

The final pairing has fired the imagination of fans throughout the county, according to Red Hands board spokesman Damien Harvey.

“This is certainly a very tantalising clash between two sides who will bring different qualities to the table and who have been very impressive in getting this far,” says Harvey.

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