More Players Opt Out Of Derry Panel

Influential midfielder Niall Holly and key defender Dermot McBride will not be involved with Derry for the 2017 season manager Damien Barton has confirmed. 

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The Ballinascreen club man had an injury hit 2016 with a reoccurring knee injury resulting in McBride watching most of Derry’s 2016 campaign from the sidelines, only featuring in the Ulster Championship defeat to Tyrone.

Holly joins Danny Heavron, Sean Leo McGoldrick, Liam McGoldrick, Gareth McKinless, Conor McAtamney, Emmett Bradley, Ciaran McFaul, Eoin Brown and Christopher Bradley who all opted out of the panel back in October.

Speculation that the Coleraine man would not be part of Derry’s plans in 2017 surfaced after the counties qualifier defeat against Tipperary. Barton has in the last few days confirmed that Holly will not be involved.

“No Niall’s not with us, Niall has huge commitments from a work perspective which obviously supersedes everything in life.”

“He has been struggling with an ankle injury, Coleraine last year indulged in an intermediate sortie in the hurling as well so he’s another guy who hasn’t had time to charge his batteries and look after his body.”

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Holly (7) Hurling For His Native Eoghan Rua in the 2015 All Ireland Junior Hurling Final

A dual player at club level saw Holly and his Eoghan Rua team mates involved in a long drawn out process to be readmitted into the Ulster Intermediate competition after being thrown out as a result of failing to field a team in this years Derry Senior Championship.

Their appeal was to be successful and they went on to reach the final before being narrowly outpointed by Cloughmills of Antrim at the end of November giving Holly little or no break.

The Oak Leaf men have seen a massive overhaul in personnel over the winter months. With manager Damien Barton yet to finalise his Dr McKenna Cup panel it is believed there will be a lot of new faces in the Derry team in 2017.