Despite having only agreed a new two-year extension in April, Micheál Donoghue last night confirmed his departure as Galway senior hurling manager.
After leading the county to an All-Ireland SHC title in 2017, their first in 29 years, the Clarinbridge man took the decision to step down after four seasons in charge.
In a statement to Galway Bay FM, Donoghue said he and his management felt the time was right to hand over to a new set-up.
It read: “We would like to thank Galway GAA for the opportunity they gave us to lead Galway hurling - it was the opportunity of a lifetime and was both an honour and privilege to do so.
“We started out in December 2015 with the simple goal to bring success back to Galway hurling and to build a culture of professionalism and consistency in performance.
"Since then we have had some amazing days most notably the 2017 All Ireland success. After four seasons we feel the time is now right to hand on the opportunity to a new management team.
“We would like to thank the players for their honesty, dedication and commitment to their sport and county.
“We would like to acknowledge and thank our background team and support staff who worked with us for their expertise and service to the Galway Senior Hurling team.
“To our families and our employers - thank you for being so understanding and supportive of the time commitment a job like this takes.
“To our main sponsor Supermacs and the many other sponsors who give so willingly their support - thank you, it is greatly appreciated.
“Finally, we thank the Galway Hurling Clubs and the Galway Hurling supporters - your passion, commitment and connection with this team have made doing this job a joy.
The 44-year-old’s decision will come as a surprise given the agreement he made with the county board executive earlier this year.
However, he was circumspect about his future following the Championship-exiting defeat to Dublin in June.
County chairman Pat Kearney said last month: “Micheál has two years to go, but there will have to be discussions about it. We have already talked to Micheál about various things for next year and we will be continuing that over the next week or two.
"But Micheál was offered an extension of two years of his term three months ago, before the championship started, and he accepted that."
Donoghue also claimed two Leinster titles in his four years as well as guiding them to last year’s All-Ireland final.
Current U20 manager Jeff Lynskey and Dublin boss Mattie Kenny, who masterminded that win over Galway in Parnell Park, will be among the favourites for the position but former Tribe selector Kenny may not wish to leave the capital after completing his first season at the helm.
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