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Joy for Brian McIver as Derry are given double boost

By Declan Bogue

Derry have been given a double boost as a host of legendary former county players have committed to Director of Football Brian McIver's coaching project, just as a sponsorship deal between the county Development Squads and RiverRidge Recycling company has been announced.

Along with the management teams of the Under-15, 16 and 17 Development Squads, a number of illustrious coaching figures such as Damian Cassidy, Fergal Doherty, Johnny McBride, Ronan McGuckin, Barry Dillon, Conleith Gilligan, Henry Downey, Enda Gormley and Gary Coleman will be involved in what must rank as the most ambitious development plan in any county at present.

McIver, who took over the innovative Director of Football role shortly after he stepped down as county senior manager, revealed: "I can't speak for other counties, the only thing I can say is that when I looked at what the set-up was in Derry, all I wanted to do was to build on what was already in existence.

"There are a great number of very good coaches in Derry. Probably from a county perspective, one of the issues was that they weren't working with the Development Squads.

"So that was one of the things that we set out to do, to get them involved. To date, I am very happy with the people who have come on board.

"A number of those lads would be involved in terms of running clinics in the various Development Squads, specialised training and so on.

"On top of that, a lot of the rest of them will come in and help out when needed with the existing coaches.

"It's a step-by-step thing, as all developments are, of course, but hopefully we have got a great deal of the people we wanted involved, now involved."

The 2002 All-Ireland club winning manager sees the similarities in Tyrone's model of high-profile figures helping out with the county Development Squads.

However, he insisted: "A model that was going to fit another county wasn't necessarily going to be of any value to Derry.

"I ended up having to look at what was in existence in Derry and what we could improve on. I could safely say for most counties, that is the way it will be."

He also points to continuing optimism in the wider Derry GAA fraternity.

"The year has started off very well from a senior perspective. The Under-21s are also working away, and the minors are starting to get a panel sorted out," he said.

"It's obviously very early days yet, but a lot of the things we wanted to put in place are now starting to materialise."

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