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Conleith Gilligan dreaming of a double triumph

By John Campbell

Conleith Gilligan has been a mainstay of the Ballinderry Shamrocks attack for over a decade and is currently in hot form as the team prepare to step up their bid to retain the Derry county title when they meet Lavey in the quarter-final tomorrow night at Owenbeg (7.30pm).

And former Derry star Gilligan – he stepped away from the inter-county scene in late 2012 after 12 years of service – is fulfilling another role just across the border in Tyrone.

As manager of the thriving Derrytresk outfit, he has steered the club into the county championship final, in which they will meet Rock later this month.

Derrytresk earned their place in the decider by beating Castlederg by 1-12 to 0-11 and Gilligan is looking forward to seeing his side rise to the occasion against Rock.

"Castlederg were very tenacious. They made us work hard but we got over the line in the end. Now we have a big game in the final and it would be great if Derrytresk could win this because of the hard work undertaken by so many people within the club," asserts Gilligan.

In fact, the 34-year-old business development manager plays down his own touchline role.

"There are times when I am not there because of my commitments with Ballinderry but there are a lot of very capable people who can call the shots," adds Gilligan.

He is particularly keen to win a fifth Derry championship medal as a prelude to perhaps tasting more success in the Ulster club championship.

"We made it into the All-Ireland club semi-final earlier this year when we were beaten by a good St Vincent's side and we were disappointed about that.

"There are a number of players in the Ballinderry side who are very experienced and they can have a big influence in bringing success," maintains Gilligan.

Kevin McCloy will be a notable absentee from tomorrow night's match as the Lavey captain is still recovering in hospital having collapsed in the first meeting between his team and O'Donovan Rossa last month.

Derry manager Brian McIver is expected to be at Owenbeg to view the talent on display and in this respect Ballinderry's McKinless brothers Gareth and Daniel along with Aaron Devlin, Conor Nevin and James Conway are likely to come under his microscope.

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