Damian McErlain has added another player to his panel ahead of the 2019 season, it has been confirmed.

Ballinderry defender Gareth McKinless joined the Oakleaf squad last week.

He missed the club championship campaign through suspension and spent the summer playing for the Ulster club in San Francisco.

It takes the number of players on this year’s Derry squad – who were not on board for the 2018 championship – to 16.

McKinless is a student at UUJ but will play in the McKenna Cup for Derry.

Niall Toner, Ben McKinless and Shane McGuigan will play for St Mary’s in the McKenna Cup, Niall Keenan will be in the green of QUB.

Terence O’Brien, Michael McEvoy and Jack Doherty will play for UUJ, under the watch of new Loup manager Paul Rouse who is the university’s Gaelic Games Development Co-ordinator.

The Derry boss was also keen to bring Colm McGoldrick into the panel after their Derry and Ulster club campaigns.  The Eoghan Rua skipper has declined and will concentrate on club football.

His brother Sean Leo returned to the panel last year under McErlain, but opted out of this season due to personal commitments.

Liam McGoldrick and Ruairi Mooney, both of whom starred on Coleraine’s championship run, will be unavailable.

They are set to go travelling, meaning there will be no representatives from the county champions on the squad when Derry kick into action.

On the other side of the coin, there has been an influx of new players coming into the fold, including Shea Downey, Eoghan Concannon and Conor Doherty from their Ulster U20 winning team.

Ciaran McFaul and Niall Keenan missed last year’s championship but are back on board.  There are also returns for goalkeeper Thomas Mallon, Christopher Bradley of Slaughtneil and Ballinderry duo Gareth McKinless and Ryan Bell.

Lavey trio Conor Mulholland, Declan Hughes and Eamon McGill have also been called up by McErlain.

Others included in the squad are Meehaul McGrath from Slaughtneil, Glen’s Ryan Dougan, Jason Rocks from Loup as well as Swatragh’s Sean Francis Quinn.

Derry commence their NFL campaign away to Antrim on Sunday, January 27 and were last night drawn to face Tyrone, Fermanagh and UUJ in the Dr McKenna Cup.

The opening game will be at home to Tyrone on Sunday, December 16, followed by a trip to Fermanagh (Sunday, January 6) before concluding at home to UUJ on Wednesday, January 9.

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