By Michael McMullan
DERRY manager Rory Gallagher has confirmed a new captain for the season ahead, his fourth year at the helm of the Oakleafers.
Glen’s Conor Glass is the new skipper with Shane McGuigan as vice-captain, Gallagher confirmed to Gaelic Life after Tuesday’s Dr McKenna Cup clash at Owenbeg.
He takes over from Sleacht Néill’s All-Star defender Chrissy McKaigue who lifted the Anglo Celt Cup last summer in Clones.
McKaigue – who made his 114th senior appearance in Derry’s win over Fermanagh on Sunday – had an excellent summer marking the opposition dangermen on Derry’s way to the last four of the All-Ireland series.
“It was decided a while back, Conor is captain and Shane is the Vice-Captain,” Gallagher said of the change.
McGuigan took the toss before the game, while Glass was present in the stand to run his eye over the game.
Gallagher also confirmed Glen’s Conleth McGuckian has been added to the squad after stellar performances in Glen’s run to the All-Ireland final including a Man of the Match performance against Kilcoo.
He joins fellow Watties Glass and Ethan Doherty on the squad, but the Derry boss is still unsure about Emmett Bradley’s involvement.
“Emmett is not sure, he’ll have to wait until after (Glen’s season) and I know he is getting married in mid-February, so you have to respect any player’s decision,” Gallagher said.
Niall O’Donnell, one of the 2020 All-Ireland minor winners has been added the squad and made his debut in Tuesday night.
Ballinascreen goalkeeper Ryan Scullion has joined the panel with Glen’s Connlan Bradley opting out and Dungiven’s Kevin Johnston – who last played in 2018 under Damian McErlain is back in the squad.
Goalkeeper coach Thomas Mallon, who stepped away, has been replaced by Ronan Gallagher – brother of Rory – while Roisin Jordan comes in as nutritionist after Anne Marie Mulholland’s relocation to Dublin forced her to step away from the management team.
In terms of Derry’s opening league game against Limerick, a week after Glen’s All-Ireland final, Gallagher hasn’t rule out any for the Glen players’ involvement.
“I think there is far too much made of it. The two fellas we are talking about, Conor and Ethan, nothing will faze them.
“We all hope they win and celebrate in the fashion that I know they can and then get back to business. It’s not idea, but that is life.”