GAA Football

Rory Gallagher and Seamus McEnaney tipped for Monaghan management roles

Rory Gallagher could return to inter-county management along with Seamus McEnaney at Monaghan.
Andy Watters

RORY Gallagher could form half of a potential new Monaghan management team with Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney.

The Irish News understands that Gallagher, who stepped down as Fermanagh boss on Monday after two years in charge, could be tempted back into the inter-county scene on a joint managerial ticket with McEnaney.

Corduff native ‘Banty’ was Monaghan manager from 2004 to 2010. Since then has taken the reins at Meath and Wexford at senior level and is currently Monaghan minor manager.

Gallagher was Jim McGuinness’s trusted assistant in 2012 when the Tir Chonaill men won the All-Ireland. He succeeded McGuinness in the role for three seasons before stepping down and making the switch to Fermanagh.

Other potential candidates in the mix to replace Malachy O’Rourke as Monaghan manager include Crossmaglen native Tony McEntee and former Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan both of whom also have a track record of success at club and county level.

Gallagher’s decision to step down as manager of his native Fermanagh seven weeks after their Qualifier loss to Monaghan on June 9 is understood to have come as a surprise to many of the Fermanagh players and even his backroom team.

It is conceivable that after weighing up his options the Belleek native decided he had taken the Ernemen as far as he could at present, particularly since there is uncertainty over the immediate future of defensive lynchpin Che Cullen, who is currently based in Hungary. Cullen travelled home for games this year but may not be available in 2020.

Gallagher, an ambitious manager who literally lives and breathes football, may have decided that the time was right to make a switch and he is unlikely to be short of offers.

As well as Monaghan, the highly-rated coach and savvy tactician has been linked with the vacancies in Derry and Kildare and also with a move to Galway where he could link up with Kevin Walsh.

Gallagher is regarded as a hard taskmaster but he had total buy-in from the Fermanagh players who were promoted from Division Three in his first season and went on to beat Armagh and Monaghan to reach the Ulster final later last summer.

This year, Fermanagh burst out of the blocks in Division Two and were in the race for promotion to the top flight only for their form to fall away with losses in their final two games. Finishing third was a creditable effort but that League form did not translate to the Championship and Fermanagh lost to Donegal in Ulster before Monaghan finished their season in what turned out to be Gallagher’s last match at the helm.

“Club Eirne and its members must be acknowledged for the fundraising and financial support they provide the county board and in turn the senior team,” read a statement Gallagher issued after announcing his decision to step down.

“I would like to thank all the clubs who helped facilitate us with training venues and meeting rooms throughout my two years.

“To all the players, management and backroom team who were involved over the last two years, a huge thanks for your effort, loyalty and desire to be better.

“We had some great days and I wish everybody the best of luck going forward both in your personal lives and in your sporting life.”

It’s no surprise that Dominic Corrigan, vastly experienced and winner of five McCrory Cups and this year’s Hogan Cup with a talented, all-Fermanagh St Michael’s Enniskillen side, is at the top of the unofficial list of potential replacements for Gallagher.

Corrigan has also had consistent success at club level and is a former Fermanagh player and previous manager and other candidates could include Scotstown manager Kieran Donnelly, Derrygonnelly manager Martin Greene and Gallagher’s assistant Ryan McMenamin.

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