GAA Football

Rory Gallagher favourite for Derry job - McMenamin for Fermanagh

Rory Gallagher has emerged as the leading contender for the Derry football job - while Ryan McMenamin is set to succeed him as Fermanagh manager.

RORY Gallagher has emerged as the new front-runner for the vacant Derry manager’s job - with his former assistant Ryan 'Ricey' McMenamin set to succeed him in Fermanagh.

Former Erne County and Donegal boss Gallagher is understood to have met Oak Leaf director of football Brian McIver last week and is believed to be interested in taking up the position.

Belleek man Gallagher stepped down as Fermanagh boss at the end of last month having been in charge for two years, during which time they reached an Ulster final and came within one win of promotion to Division One.

His resignation came as something of a surprise to the Erne players but with a number of vacancies around the country Gallagher’s ambition was cited as a reason for his departure.

The window for nominations for the Derry post closed last night, having been open for several weeks, during which time the county board held two extraordinary meetings with clubs about the process and other issues.

Johnny McBride, Mickey Donnelly, and a joint-ticket of Peter Doherty and Sean McGoldrick were the three candidacies that had previously been confirmed.

Gallagher’s potential back-room team is unknown, but both the Derry players and the county board are keen to have former Tyrone player Ciaran Meenagh involved in a coaching capacity again after he made an excellent impression under Damian McErlain this year.

Former Fermanagh forward Gallagher won an All-Ireland with Donegal as Jim McGuinness’s assistant before taking sole command in 2015, having stepped away the year previous after a falling-out with McGuinness.

He took Donegal for three years, losing the 2015 and 2016 Ulster finals by margins of one and two points, before stepping down.

The ex-St Gall’s All-Ireland club winning forward moved into the Fermanagh hot-seat, where he stayed another two years, gaining them promotion from Division Three and reaching last year’s Ulster Final with a shock semi-final win over Monaghan, although Donegal beat them well in that decider.

If he does take over Gallagher would be only Derry’s second ever outside manager and the first since former Dublin midfielder Brian Mullins, who was manager when the county last won Ulster in 1998.

Interviews are likely to take place later this week in front of a five-man committee that includes two county board officials, a former manager, and two former players.

* * Meanwhile Ryan McMenamin was due to be ratified as the new Fermanagh senior football manager at a meeting of the Fermanagh County Board last night.

The Tyrone native served as Rory Gallagher's right-hand man for two seasons with the Erne County and was said to be popular among the players, with Che Cullen endorsing McMenamin to The Irish News recently.

Under Gallagher's two-year tenure with 'Ricey' alongside him Fermanagh were promoted to Division Two, just missed out on a second promotion to Division One, and reached the Ulster Final last year.

Erne officials were remaining tight-lipped during the appointment process but it was revealed last week that a decision was to be made last night after a full meeting of the county board.

McMenamin, a three-time All-Ireland winner with the Red Hands, was the only candidate interviewed for the job and is understood to have put in place an impressive back-room team with former Tyrone team-mate Joe McMahon and the highly-regarded Paul McIver both on the ticket.

McIver guided Kilcoo to three Down Championships and is a former manager of McMenamin at the latter's club, Dromore. McMahon has been involved in coaching in his native county since retiring from inter-county football.

When Gallagher resigned as manager of his native Fermanagh last month he said that some of his back-room team may be interested in the top job.

It now appears that McMenamin was the unanimous choice of Fermanagh football chiefs to guide their senior side in 2020.

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