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Derry's Conor Glass heads for Down Under Rules change after Hawthorn signing

By John Campbell

It was nothing more than coincidence but on the day that Derry officials hailed a raft of initiatives that have helped to galvanise the county, one of their brightest football prospects pledged his future to Australian Rules Football.

Conor Glass, who was outstanding when Derry won the Ulster Minor Football Championship earlier this year before turning in a five-star performance against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final, will formally link up with the Hawthorn Club next June.

The talented Glass, who not only displayed his skills but his versatility over the course of the summer, is rated as one of the best young players to have emerged in the province in recent years and has been under the AFL microscope for some time.

And while it comes as no real surprise that he is now destined for a fresh sporting career Down Under, his projected switch of codes comes in the wake of a towering contribution in the Ulster final against Cavan which Derry won by 1-11 to 0-11 and an equally impressive showing in the All-Ireland semi-final which was, however, not quite sufficient to prevent his side falling to the Kingdom by 1-11 to 1-6.

Even Kerry manager Jack O'Connor was in raptures about Glass at the end of that game, the player's influence as skipper having been particularly pronounced throughout the Championship season.

Glass has been a key figure in the Glen side which has dominated the Derry and Ulster Minor Club scene in recent years, his proficiency first coming to light as a 14-year-old.

But while Glass's departure will be lamented, Derry's top brass have made it clear that a concerted push for honours in 2016 is already under way.

A number of initiatives have been launched under new Director of Football Brian McIver, aimed at ensuring that structures to facilitate all under-age talent in the county are streamlined and in this respect a meeting of coaches has taken place at which the route ahead was mapped out.

McIver is particularly keen to see Derry regain its status as a strong football county and it is anticipated that he will work closely with the managements of the county minor, Under-21 and senior teams in an ongoing effort to bring success.

Former Derry chairman John Keenan has now taken on the role of chairman of Club Derry and will instigate fresh fundraising initiatives.

Derry spokesman Dermot McPeake believes that the commitment and zeal shown by McIver and Keenan testify to the belief and desire that are prevalent within the county.

"Brian and John were free to take a break from the GAA following their previously demanding roles yet here they are busier than ever in trying to do their best for the county," said McPeake.

"I think it is incumbent on everyone within the county to give them and the minor, Under-21 and senior management personnel every possible support.

"It's only by doing just this that real success for Derry can be achieved."

Meanwhile, Antrim PRO Sean Fleming makes it clear that the appointment of a new hurling manager is by no means "past the post".

Fleming said: "Contrary to the feeling in some quarters, the matter of a new manager is not past the post.

"Those who are still in the frame for the position can make themselves available for interview by Ciaran Barr and two members of our Executive.

"Following this, a recommendation will be made to the full Executive Committee and this will then be brought before the county board."

Belfast Telegraph


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