Coleman: Many Derry players have 'attitude' problem

Gary Coleman at a memorial match for his late father Éamonn, who passed away in 2007. The former Allstar has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Derry managerial position  
Cahair O'Kane

GARY COLEMAN says Derry will “never make the breakthrough” unless the players “change their attitude”.

The Oak Leaf county is searching for a new manager after the resignation of Brian McIver following last weekend’s qualifier defeat by Galway. Coleman, who says he is not interested in being considered for the job, believes an element of the squad must take responsibility for McIver’s reign ending.

The outgoing boss lasted three years, having spoken of a “three-to-five” year plan when he took office after John Brennan left at the end of 2012. While Derry won a National League Division Two title and reached a Division One final last April, their Championship performances under McIver fell short as they failed to bridge a 17-year gap since the county’s last Ulster title, and an eight-year hiatus from the last eight of the All-Ireland series.

“It’s a massive job," said Coleman. 

"I would seriously question the Derry players. Not all the players, but I can’t understand men leaving and going to America. I really can’t. That’s what really pisses me off, and I’m sure it pisses a lot of the players off. I think it’s wrong.

“Especially men that are getting game time. The last match, coming up to Galway, you could be beaten, so you could be away the next week along with everybody anyway.”

Coleman, who played at wing-back on the only Derry side to bring Sam Maguire back to the county some 22 years ago, believes the players will have to find a burning desire to win an Ulster title if they are to achieve it. The former Allstar pointed to the hunger the Monaghan players have shown over recent seasons and said a provincial title in Derry would mean as much as an All-Ireland at present.

“A lot of players have to look at themselves," he added. 

"I’m sure the boys that were committed are disappointed with other men for not showing the same level of commitment. Alright, Derry aren’t going to win an All-Ireland, but look at the Monaghan supporters on the pitch after Sunday when they won Ulster. What that would mean to Derry is equal to that.

“An Ulster Championship would be a massive thing. It would be an All-Ireland to Derry. But you really, really have to want it.”

“I feel sorry for Brian McIver," Coleman said. 

"Players have to have a look at themselves. That’s not them all because there are good players there that are fully committed. But players have to look at themselves. They’re never going to make the breakthrough unless they change their attitude. That’s going to take 30 men."

The 1993 All-Ireland winner, who has managed Greenlough, Magherafelt and Glenullin since retiring from playing with Ballymaguigan in 2010, believes the role requires an experienced hand to turn the ship around.

“I don’t understand why my name’s mentioned, I really can’t," the 43-year-old insisted. 

"I’m only managing four years. For me, a county job, any county job, is for an experienced man. Maybe Jim McGuinness and these boys have defied that but, for me, it’s a job for someone with experience.”

Meanwhile, former Mayo boss James Horan has ruled out the possibility of Derry landing a big coup. He took his native county to two All-Ireland finals before stepping down after last year’s semi-final replay defeat by eventual winners Kerry.

“If you think of it logically, logistically and every other way… if you were to be an inter-county manager in Derry, you’d need to understand club football up there, you’d need to understand a lot of things," said Horan.

“That would be a huge amount of time up there and that’s something I couldn’t give. It’d a big job, they’re a sleeping giant."



The former Monaghan man was among the names touted in Derry when the post was last up for grabs in 2012, but the idea was never followed through. He is rightly credited with laying much of the groundwork that has led to his native county’s recent success and, if interested, would be a very viable candidate.

Goalscorer in the 1993 All-Ireland final, Downey and his brother Henry have overseen the development of a strong underage crop coming through in Lavey the past few years. The duo also managed their seniors a few years back, with Henry leading. However, it’s understood he is not interested in the post.

Took Antrim to an Ulster final and won a Derry SFC with his native Glenullin in 2007, currently managing Donegal side Malin. Nominated on the last four occasions the job has come up, Bradley said earlier this week the role no longer interests him. “I don’t want to die a young man,” he said of the prospect of taking up the reins.

Was second-in-command to Damian Cassidy during the Bellaghy man’s reign and has managed Glenullin, Loup and Dungiven since coming into Derry club circles in 2007. Knows the scene as well as any of the contenders. Says he is “flattered to be linked to the job, but my sole focus is on Dungiven’s game with Banagher at this point in time.”

Another of the 1993 All-Ireland winning side and son of their manager, the late Éamonn, Gary Coleman’s own managerial career is rookie at this stage. He only quit playing in 2010 and has been with Greenlough, Magherafelt and (briefly) Glenullin, but is currently a free agent. However, he too has ruled himself out in today’s Irish News.

The Ballinascreen man is renowned for both his passion and his coaching exploits, having worked with the Ulster Council in a coaching role for many years. He is still in that job, which may restrict his ability to take over his county’s reins. Managed his own club for a season-and-a-bit before having to step down because of work commitments. Didn’t rule out the prospect of going for it when contacted, but said “I genuinely haven’t thought about it”.

The former Mayo boss has been linked with just about every vacant managerial post going since stepping down from a very successful spell in charge of his native county. Won four Connacht titles and reached two All-Ireland finals, but couldn’t get them over the line. However, while labelling Derry “a sleeping giant”, he has also ruled out going for the job.

Another of the 1993 team, Gormley oversaw Glen’s underage revolution before moving into senior management. Has taken his own club, followed by Tyrone sides Galbally and Carrickmore. But it’s understood the former Allstar forward is not interested.


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