GAA Football

County board votes swing Gallagher appointment in Derry

Rory Gallagher has been appointed as the new Derry manager following a vote last night. Picture by Philip Walsh.

RORY Gallagher was last night appointed as the new Derry manager after the county board’s votes appeared to swing the ballot in his favour.

The county executive had 11 votes and with a number of clubs not represented, a proposal that the appointment process be restarted was voted down by 24 votes to 15 after what The Irish News understands was a fractious meeting.

The clubs had held their own meeting prior to being joined by the county executive, during which they deliberated over whether to vote in favour of the former Donegal and Fermanagh manager’s appointment.

During the meeting they decided that they would hear what the county board had to say, and enough club delegates joined the county board delegates in agreeing to hand Gallagher a three-year term.

Gallagher had been put forward by the county’s management committee for ratification after meeting with officials last week.

That had been due to be for interview but the other three candidates that had been nominated by clubs had already pulled out by that stage.

Mickey Donnelly, Johnny McBride and the Peter Doherty-Sean McGoldrick combination all withdrew their names after it emerged that Derry officials had met with Gallagher in the earlier part of the appointment process.

McBride was subsequently approached to drop his bid to become manager and join a proposed backroom team under Gallagher.

Ciaran Meenagh, who enjoyed great favour with the players during the 2019 season having joined Damian McErlain’s backroom team, will take up the coaching role under Gallagher, while Oak Leaf legend Enda Muldoon will also be alongside the former Fermanagh forward.

Ballinderry native Muldoon won a Derry intermediate championship as joint-manager of Banagher last year.

They replace Damian McErlain, who stepped down after two years in charge following the Oak Leaf county’s championship exit at the hands of Laois.

Derry will start next year in Division Three and under John Horan’s proposals for a tiered championship that will go before Special Congress later this year, they will have to reach what would be only their third Ulster final this century if they are to avoid dropping into the ‘B’ championship.

It will be 22 years next summer since Derry last won an Ulster title, but hopes are high of a renaissance after a strong run of successive minor teams in recent years.

Derry hurling manager John McEvoy was reappointed along with selector Johnny McGuirk and coach Brian Delargy for a second year, with Ulster GAA employee Eoin McNicholl coming in to head the strength and conditioning team.

Elsewhere, Galway are on the lookout for a new manager after Kevin Walsh’s expected departure was confirmed early yesterday.

He had been at the helm for five years, during which time they returned to Division One for the first time since 2011 and reached the league final in 2018.

They also reached last year’s All-Ireland semi-final but had their summer cut short by Mayo this year, a side against whom Walsh’s team previously had an outstanding record.

Rory Gallagher had been linked to that possible vacancy but the bookies have installed Padraic Joyce and John Divilly as the frontrunners to replace the former All-Ireland winning midfielder.

Meanwhile, former Kerry boss Jack O’Connor was ratified as Kildare’s new manager, with Ross Glavin and Tom Cribben confirmed as his selectors.

Colm Collins was also reappointed as Clare manager having had a very successful six-year spell in charge so far, with the Bannermen having finished in a higher league position than the year previous in each of his first five years.

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