Damian McErlain set to return as Derry minor manager for 2023
FOMER Derry senior manager Damian McErlain is expected to return to the county set up as minor manager for the 2023 season.
The move was recommended by the executive committee at a meeting in Owenbeg on Tuesday night and if ratified at a County Committee meeting next month, McErlain's return will see current minor manager Martin Boyle - who led the Oak Leafers to the 2020 All Ireland Minor title - step up to the county's Under 20 panel.
McErlain was in charge of the Derry senior team for two years, leading the Oak Leafers to the Allianz Football League Division Four title, before being succeeded by Rory Gallagher but it was in his previous stint as Derry minor manager that McErlain became one of the main architects of the recent Oak Leaf renaissance.
Prior to the Magherafelt man's appointment in 2015, Derry's minor record in Ulster was underwhelming at best. In the 20 years before 2015, the Oak Leafers had appeared in only three Ulster Minor finals with a 13 year gap dating back to Chris Brown’s 2002 winners.
But building on the work being done behind the scenes, McErlain led Derry to three successive Ulster Minor finals, winning the 2015 and 2017 titles as well as reaching the 2017 All Ireland minor final where they lost to a David Clifford inspired Kerry. His 2015 team included the likes of Conor Glass, Shane McGuigan, Shea Downey, Jack Doherty and Michael McEvoy while the 2017 vintage saw Conor McCluskey, Padraig McGrogan, Oisin and Lorcan McWilliams and Ben McCarron all feature.