Joe McMahon and Paul McIver linked with switch to Fermanagh as part of Ryan McMenamin management team
FERMANAGH are expected to name Ryan McMenamin as Rory Gallagher’s successor early next week and the new Erne County manager is expected to include his Tyrone All-Ireland-winning team-mate Joe McMahon and former Derry U21 and Kilcoo manager Paul McIver in an impressive backroom unit.
Gallagher stepped down unexpectedly after two productive years at the Fermanagh helm following his native county’s loss to Monaghan in the All-Ireland Qualifiers and McMenamin, his assistant over the past two seasons, is the overwhelming favourite to inherit the bainisteoir’s bib with McMahon stepping in to take over his training role.
Former Dromore and Tyrone star McMenamin has utilised his vast-experience as the Erne county’s defensive coach since joining Gallagher’s management team. ‘Ricey’ is well thought off among the Fermanagh players – full-back Che Cullen indicated this week that he would be willing to continue to commute from Budapest for League and Championship games if he is appointed as manager – and the Erne county supporters.
Omagh St Enda’s clubman McMahon was a Sam Maguire winner with Tyrone in 2005 and 2008 during a glittering 13-year career at inter-county level that came to an end in 2017.
He has been involved with the Clogher Eire Ogs club this season - the Tyrone outfit were promoted from junior level to the intermediate grade in the county last year and are currently sitting third in the league table after nine games.
McIver is a highly-rated mentor who won a hat-trick of Down Senior Championship titles with Kilcoo and has been linked with a number of inter-county managerial positions.
Two other Ulster counties – Derry and Monaghan – are currently in the process of appointing new managers. It is understood that representatives of Derry’s clubs will meet to discuss finding a successor to Damian McErlain for a second time on Monday night. McErlain surprisingly stood down after a two-season spell as senior manager which included relegation to and then promotion from Division Four. County sources have indicated that they have not set a deadline for the appointment of his replacement.
Mickey Donnelly – the current Derry U20 manager – and former Derry skipper Johnny McBride are the favourites to take the reins at this stage. There is some speculation that McBride could include Paddy Bradley – who was the last Derry player to win an Allstar in 2007 – as part of his backroom team.
The Monaghan County Board are expected to timetable interviews with candidates next week and it is understood that the shortlist includes former Armagh and Crossmaglen All-Ireland winner and Mayo assistant-manager Tony McEntee, former Monaghan boss Seamus McEnaney and Mattie McGleenan, a successful manager with Scotstown who had two seasons with Cavan.
Elsewhere, Antrim’s football committee met last night to review the 2019 season. It is understood that Lenny Harbinson will be invited to continue as the county’s manager. Last season Harbinson’s Saffrons failed to secure promotion from Division Four but they did register a long-awaited Championship win over Louth, the county’s first since their dramatic and unexpected 2-15 to 1-16 victory against Laois at O’Moore Park almost four years previously.