Long-serving Derry player Enda Muldoon is currently facing up to two major challenges.
The 30-year-old, who has the distinction of being the only active current county player outside of Armagh or Tyrone to hold an Ulster championship medal, is clearly relishing both missions.
Not only will he be striving to help the Oak Leaf county reach their first Ulster final in 11 years when they meet Armagh on Sunday — he won his medal when he was part of the successful 1998 side — but he has just been appointed a GAA coaching officer with special responsibility for propagating gaelic football among school pupils in Derry city.
Muldoon’s appointment has been made as part of the GAA’s ambitious National Urban Programme and while the Ballinderry clubman is very much focussed on the meeting with the orchard county, he is excited about his new coaching role.
“Obviously all the talk is about the game against Armagh and I am very keen to see Derry get a win here. It would be terrific for football in the county if we were to reach the final,” says Muldoon.
“Looking to the future, there is great potential in the Derry city area. When you look at the number of children living there and see their enthusiasm for gaelic games you realise how big an opportunity it provides.”
Muldoon, who first came to prominence as an outstanding Minor and has served Derry in several positions including midfield, centre-half-forward and full forward, has endured considerable heartbreak with injuries over the past three years.
Three metatarsal setbacks have severely limited his input into the county team but he is back to full fitness and has recaptured the enthusiasm and commitment for which he is renowned.
“I’m delighted to be fully involved again with the county team and I hope that we can provide an incentive for the young people I will be coaching by winning on Sunday. I know the clubs in Derry city do a lot of excellent work on the ground and hopefully me and Aidan McLaughlin, the other coach who has been appointed, can help them build on that,” says Muldoon.