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Ballinderry to recruit boss from within

By John Campbell

Derry and Ulster club football champions Ballinderry Shamrocks have been dealt a blow now that their management team of Martin McKinless and Fabian Muldoon have stepped down.

Confirmation that the duo will not be seeking re-appointment has come as a shock within the club although McKinless had previously hinted that he might call it a day when his team's involvement in the All-Ireland Club Championship was terminated.

This duly happened when they were beaten by Dublin and Leinster champions St Vincent's in the recent semi-final at Pairc Esler, Newry in a game in which they never recovered from conceding two early goals.

However McKinless in particular has masterminded a stunning sequence of success for the Ballinderry outfit.

Over the past three years the team has been a dominant force in club football winning three successive Derry titles, one Ulster club championship honour, two Ulster senior football league crowns and a Derry football league accolade.

"This represents a magnificent return for two proud volunteers and club members, both former players. We are greatly indebted to them for their endeavours on behalf of the club," says PRO Killian Conlan.

McKinless is the father of Daniel and Gareth McKinless both of whom contributed handsomely to the team's surge into the All-Ireland semi-final.

Gareth was named man of the match in two of the club's most recent assignments and also picked up an Ulster GAA Writers Association monthly merit award.

He has just been called into the Derry squad by manager Brian McIver and is expected to figure in the county side over the course of the remainder of the Allianz League.

Ballinderry officials will now begin the task of appointing a new manager and may well do so from within the club.

Long-serving player Enda Muldoon, who turned in a fine performance in the All-Ireland semi-final, could conceivably be asked to take over the side although it is understood that other potential candidates may also be in the pipeline.

Ballinderry are anxious to remain at the top of the Derry tree and PRO Conlan stresses that every effort will be made to ensure that the county championship title is retained.

"We are very determined to continue the run of success that we have enjoyed in recent years.

"There is no doubt that we have a raft of good players and while some may be seen to be in the veteran stage, nonetheless they are continuing to give us excellent service," points out Conlan whose brother Michael has been Ballinderry's first choice goalkeeper for many years.

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