By Michael McMullan
DERRY’S championship preparations have been given a boost by the return of Ciaran McFaul to the squad after his recent return from America, Gaelic Life understands.
The Glen man wasn’t part of the build-up to Sunday’s defeat to Dublin but his presence will thicken up Rory Gallagher’s options as they prepare to put their title on the line against Fermanagh on Saturday week in Brewster Park.
McFaul left to play football in Boston before the start of last year’s Ulster Senior Championship opener with Tyrone last season after having played in all but two games of Rory Gallagher’s tenure before that.
Bar a stoppage time replacement by Conor McAtamney in the penultimate league game before the Covid-19 lockdown, McFaul played every minute of Gallagher’s first two seasons.
He has not played a game for club or county since their win over Meath in Navan, just over a year ago, after kicking three points from play on the day Galway hammered Derry to end their promotion chances.
McFaul has played 82 times for Derry at senior level, bettered only by Chrissy McKaigue and Benny Heron on the number panel, is expected to join up with the Derry squad as they aim to bounce back from Sunday’s defeat in Croke Park.
Rory Gallagher admitted that Chrissy McKaigue could’ve played and Eoin McEvoy started had it been a crunch championship game.
The news wasn’t as promising on skipper Conor Glass after he “nipped” a hamstring early in the second half and faces a race against time with the championship looming.