By Tom Comack
Former Donegal manager Brian McIver is a key player in Down's drive for a sixth All- Ireland Senior Championship crown when they face Cork this Sunday in the All-Ireland Senior Football final.
Tyrone man McIver, who managed Donegal from 2006 to 2008 after taking over from Brian McEniff, guided the county to its one and only National Football League title when they defeated Mayo in Croke Park in 2007.
McIver forms part of Mourne County manager James McCartan's backroom team along with fellow Tyrone man Paddy Tally, trainer of the 2003 Tyrone All-Ireland winning side and Down native, Jerome Johnston.
And the trio are generally regarded both inside Down and in wider GAA circles as playing a huge part in Down's run to the last two and within 70 minutes of All-Ireland glory with many followers and keen observers of the Down scene singling McIver out for special mention and praise.
An All-Ireland Club Championship winner with Derry's Ballinderry in 2002, McIver also led Donegal to the 2006 Ulster final and the All-Ireland quarter-final in the same year losing both games narrowly to Armagh and Cork respectively.
He departed the Donegal job early in the Autumn of 2008, when he sensationally resigned after a vote of no confidence was put before the Donegal county committee by St Eunan’s and seconded by Gaoth Dobhair.
Meanwhile, McCartan, from the great family dynasty, lived and worked in Donegal for a short time when he managed the pub in Mountcharles for English based local business man Danny Keeney. The Down boss also played for Tir Chonaill Gaels in London for a couple of seasons.
Down defeated Donegal in their first game of the campaign thanks to a late extra-time goal from star forward Benny Coulter to emerge 1-15 to 2-10.Rory Kavanagh, with a late point for the home side, sent the end of May clash into additional time, but it was Down who came through and started a wonderful journey that concludes this Sunday on the highest stage of all.