GAA Football

Rory Gallagher refuses to be drawn on future in wake of Donegal defeat by Galway

Neil Loughran

All-Ireland SFC Qualifying round 4A: Galway 4-17 Donegal 0-14

DONEGAL boss Rory Gallagher refused to be drawn on his own future in the aftermath of his side’s stunning 15-point All-Ireland Qualifier defeat to Galway on Saturday night.

For the first time since 2010, Donegal won’t be in the All-Ireland quarter-finals after crashing out against the Tribesmen.

On a disastrous night before a packed house at Markievicz Park - filled mostly with Donegal supporters - three goals in the 15 minutes before half-time brought a swift end to their hopes of reaching the last eight.

Coming just five weeks after losing by nine to Tyrone in a one-sided Ulster Championship semi-final, Saturday’s exit brings a sorry end to Gallagher’s third year in charge.

After an impressive National League, the Fermanagh man was being credited with overseeing the transition from the old guard to a talented new generation of Donegal footballers.

But Gallagher is now facing questions about his own future in the job.

“I’m not sure - whatever comes, comes,” he said.

“I'm around long enough to know that's the nature of it. I'm disappointed with today, the Tyrone display, we haven’t played to the level that we wanted.

“Hand on heart, I would have expected tough days.”

Asked if he intended to lead Donegal in 2018, Gallagher added: “We’re after coming off a tough day there today. All you are thinking about is trying to get over the line today and trying to get another week in the Championship - that was the thoughts coming into today.”

Already trailing by 3-12 to 0-9, Donegal were forced to play the final 22 minutes of the game with 13 men after second half black cards for captain Michael Murphy and substitute Martin McElhinney came after a raft of substitutions by the Tir Chonaill management.

Following on from the black card switch of goalkeeper Peter Boyle for Mark Anthony McGinley, Gallagher introduced five more subs between the 35th and 42nd minutes before Murphy and McElhinney left the field.

“We were throwing subs in to try and turn the tide and that left us very light then in the second half. It was a chance we were willing to take,” said the Donegal boss.

“We felt we had to throw a few extra legs at it. We had a lot of lads who were underperforming and we felt we had to try and get other lads in to try and pull it around.

“We were well and truly beaten - we were outclassed by Galway all over the pitch.”

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