GAA Football

Derry board to meet clubs over managerial appointment queries

Derry are on the hunt for a new manager since Damian McErlain stepped down following their All-Ireland SFC exit at the hands of Laois. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin.

DERRY county board is set to meet with clubs next week over their handling of the appointment of a new senior football manager.

A number of clubs are believed to have contacted the county board in response to a recent request for nominations for the post.

Former All-Ireland winning defender Kieran McKeever also wrote to the board on his own behalf calling for a “proper strategy [to be] put in place for the good of, and ambition of, Derry football”.

Nominations for the vacant Oak Leaf job closed earlier this week, but the county board may have to push back interview plans until after the meeting, which is understood to be taking place next Tuesday evening.

McKeever’s letter to the board, seen by The Irish News, calls for a rigorous selection process to be put in place for the next manager to avoid “a sticking plaster”.

“I’ve been talking to a good few clubs and they’re not happy about this senior management post being pushed through again,” said the Dungiven man’s letter, addressed to Derry county chairman Brian Smith.

“You said that there would be a review and that the clubs would be consulted yet there hasn’t been a meeting with the clubs since the crisis meeting when we were relegated to Division Four.

“Clubs strongly object to a manager being appointed until a review is carried out and a proper strategy is put in place for the good of, and ambition of, Derry football.

“The review and strategy needs to be presented to the clubs so that they can understand what is going on before an appointment is made, otherwise we are putting a sticking plaster on it again!

“The process of previous appointments cannot happen and it’s not in the best interests of Derry football.

“Although I understand that a manager needs time to plan for the year ahead, technically Derry can’t train until December which is five months away, so there’s no need for the rush.

“The importance of getting the appointment right at this particular time, considering we just scraped out of Division Four, cannot be overestimated.

“There are a lot of questions that need asked and answered, and I strongly urge you to arrange a meeting with the clubs within the next two weeks so we can all be on the same wavelength on the way forward,” said McKeever.

Having declared an interest in the job last week in The Irish News, former Derry minor and under-21 boss Paul McIver has now ruled himself out of the running for the top job himself.

However, he remains interested in the idea of joining up with another candidate as part of the backroom team.

Current under-20 manager Mickey Donnelly has declared his interest, but while Johnny McBride has also been nominated, the Loup man is understood to be undecided about whether to make a bid for it.

Derry are seeking to replace Damian McErlain, who stepped down last month after two years in charge.

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