That’s my boy!
Every Tyrone county final is special, but next Sunday’s decider, when Dromore defend their title against rejuvenated Errigal Ciaran, must surely be unique – because of the remarkable ingredient supplied by the opposing managers, writes Kevin Hughes
Not only were Paul McIver and Ronan McGuckin team-mates in hugely successful college and club teams, but they are also the sons of men who have both gained worthy recognition as managers of the Derry county team.
And it should be no surprise to anybody that the two lads are rapidly making names for themselves in management, given their pedigree.
Adrian McGuckin has vast managerial experience but is perhaps best remembered for the dominance of his St.Patrick’s of Maghera teams in the MacRory Cup, the lads playing in the 1994 team which beat Armagh before losing the Hogan Cup Final to a St.Jarlath’s of Tuam team which contained nine of the Galway players who went on to win All-Ireland medals just four years later.
And they were team-mates when winning numerous Derry county titles with Ballinderry Shamrocks, going on to win Ulster and All-Ireland medals as well when Brian McIver was manager and they lowered the colours of the great Nemo Rangers in the national decider.
Now both Adrian and Brian admit that they will endure a variety of emotions as they watch helplessly from the sidelines as ‘the chips off the old block’ pits their wits against one another in the quest for the glory of winning the O’Neill Cup.
“I’ll definitely be a bit nervous because I have watched both lads come up through the ranks and enjoyed considerable success with them, as has Brian” said Adrian, a regular match analyst with Radio Ulster.
“I would never offer Ronan any advice and it’s been like that since he got first involved in management. Okay, if he asked me about something, then I would be more than happy to give my point of view,
“I don’t really want to say too much, either, because it’s not a day for those not involved directly in the game. It’s a great occasion for Paul and Ronan and they deserved the limelight.
“But it’s great for them to be facing one another in the final, because the two families have always been very close and Brian and myself are great friends. So, win or lose, it will be a wonderful achievement for each of the boys and we’ll all be delighted for the winner and commiserate with the loser” assured Adrian.
And the same sentiment came from Brian, who was recently appointed to take charge of the Oak Leaf senior county team.
“Paul has done very well thus far, having a great time with Dromore - and I’m delighted as well that Ronan has achieved considerable success with both Derrylaughan and now Errigal Ciaran. He has certainly hit the ground running and it’s just great to see” said Brian.
“I am trying to keep a low profile really, because that’s the right thing to do. It is difficult watching the matches when your son is the manager – and I deliberately stayed away from the Ardboe match, such is the emotion that can be created.
“But they are two great lads and there will be strangely mixed feelings, whichever way it pans out at Healy Park on Sunday afternoon” added Brian.
Paul and Ronan are lifelong pals but, while they won’t exactly be sworn ememies, they’ll feel like they are under friendly fire on Sunday for a short while.
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Weather for Dungannon
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: South west