GAA Football

Seamus McEnaney emerges as shock contender for vacant Donegal job

Seamus McEnaney led Wexford to promotion from Division Four, but they suffered a disappointing Championship campaign. Picture by Sportsfile
Neil Loughran

WEXFORD manager Seamus McEnaney could be set for a return to the front line of Ulster football after he emerged as a surprise contender for the vacant Donegal job.

U21 boss Declan Bonner remains favourite to land the post vacated by Rory Gallagher last week, having previously worked with so many of the young players brought into the senior panel this year.

The 1992 All-Ireland winner previously managed Donegal from 1997-2000, and the 52-year-old is believed to be interested in a second shot at the job.

Current minor manager Sean Paul Barrett is another name in the running, while Glenswilly manager Gary McDaid - a former member of Gallagher’s backroom team - and Buncrana clubman Paul McGonigle have been mooted as a possible double act.

Also thought to be in the frame is ex-Queen’s senior manager Anthony McGrath, a member of Bonner’s backroom team when Donegal won the 2014 Ulster title.

However, it is understood that senior figures within the county are lobbying strongly for McEnaney to be handed the reins.

The Corduff man – who could not be contacted for comment yesterday - led Monaghan to two Ulster finals during a six-year stint in charge of his native county from 2004-2010.

After leaving the Farney job, ‘Banty’ took charge of Meath in 2011 but that came to an end after two troubled years.

Following a three-year absence, McEnaney made his return to the inter-county scene with Wexford this year, leading the Yellowbellies to promotion from Division Four.

But after a disappointing Championship, during which they lost to Carlow in Leinster before being dumped out of the Qualifiers against Monaghan, McEnaney suggested his future was up in the air.

“Look, it’s a horrendous journey,” he said last month, speaking about the commute from Monaghan to Wexford

“It’s a journey that’s unsustainable, the mileage covered from home to training and games, that has to be considered.

“But I would like to thank the county board for their support. Their support has been tremendous and they ticked all the boxes.

“While this is not the time for decisions it would be right to suggest I will be thinking about my own future. The travelling is unsustainable.”

McEnaney’s is not the only name from outside the county to have been linked with the Donegal job in recent days.

Two-time All-Ireland winner Pete McGrath said he would be happy to talk if contacted by a Donegal official, but it is understood that his is not one of the names being considered to succeed Gallagher.

The Rostrevor native, who brought Sam Maguire to Down in 1991 and 1994, is available after being effectively ousted from the Fermanagh job last month.

Having been ratified for another year in charge, his Erne reign came to an abrupt end a week later when it came to light that he did not have the support of the majority of the Fermanagh panel.

Yet a man of McGrath’s stature is unlikely to be short of suitors, and it is no surprise that he has been linked with the Donegal post.

Rumours have also surfaced in recent days linking McGrath with the Westmeath job following Tom Cribbin’s decision to walk away after three years in charge of the Lake County.

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GAA Football