'Anthony Molloy and Martin McHugh the right men to find Donegal the right manager'

Martin McHugh
Martin McHugh

THE appointment of Anthony Molloy and Martin McHugh to the five-man interview panel responsible for choosing the next Donegal manager has been warmly welcomed by one of their 1992

All-Ireland-winning colleagues. 

Sylvester Maguire described the credentials of both men as “impeccable.

“The appointment of the two lads is a good move, a sensible move and it gives a lot of credibility to homegrown talent,’’ he added.

“Martin McHugh was certainly the greatest footballer I ever played with, a brilliant player, a great tactician, well-organised, knows his stuff and knows what would be require in a county team manager. 

“And of course, he managed Cavan to an Ulster title in 1997. 

“Anthony Molloy is a natural leader of men with his heart and soul in Donegal and when you have those two boys on the committee the county should be able to come up with the right man because their heart will tell them what to do.”

Alongside McHugh and Molloy (both pictured above) on the committee will be county chairman, Fergus McGee; county secretary, Declan Martin; and Anthony Doogan. 

Maguire believes that the county was not in as bad a position as was being painted in some quarters. 

“There is very little wrong with the management of our affairs in the county,’’ he said. 

“An awful lot of it is very good but unfortunately two or three different issues got rolled up into one big ball that was fired out into the middle of the field and people did not know whether to catch it, kick it or solo it.” 

“We have got a very bad press out of it and a lot of it has been self-inflicted but some sections of the media conflated different things at times.  

“We now have to appoint a new manager and get our Academy back in the right field. 

“But we are not that far away when you see how Monaghan, whom we beat convincingly and Derry, whom we stayed with for long periods, got on in the All-Ireland semi-finals. 

Donegal GAA have revealed that they have received nine expressions of interest for the vacancy, meaning the rumour mill has been in full spin in recent days. 

Maguire added that if Donegal were looking internally, Michael Murphy and Rory Kavanagh, who  have ruled themselves out, might still be a possibility, along with Karl Lacey and Jim McGuinness. 

“It would not be the first time someone had ruled themselves out and appeared later,’’ he said. 

“The only two names outside that I have heard being mentioned are Malachy O’Rourke, who seems to be content with Glen, and Tony McEntee, who has done a very good job in Sligo. 

“Conleth Gilligan has been mentioned and he has worked with Kilcoo and is on the rise.” 

When asked if McGuinness was a possibility, Maguire said he appeared to be out of the reckoning but added that Molloy and McHugh have very persuasive powers and were winners. 

“Is it any different than when he came in, in 2011 when he had the bulk of a great group of players who had won nothing, and he would now have a new group which would be even more interesting. 

“You could be looking at the 2012 group of Murphy, McGuinness, Lacey and Kavanagh and for some people that would be a dream team as they too have great credentials. 

“Martin Regan of Naomh Conaill and Rory Kavanagh have ruled themselves out and the question is do we need an inside man or an outside man? My answer to the question is that we need the right man. 

“And it is not just the right manager, it is the structures that he brings with him. 

“Look at John Kiely in Limerick as he has Paul Kinnerk and a very strong backroom team.”