The former midfielder guided the county to their first Connacht senior title in nine years when they beat Sligo in 2010 and was also at the helm of the 2006 minor team which beat Kerry after a replay to claim the All-Ireland.
Despite a Connacht final loss to Mayo and subsequent heavy defeat to Tyrone in this year’s championship, he had massive backing from the county board and the public who were keen to see him continue his renaissance of the county’s affairs.
But last night he met with county board chairman Michael Fahey and issued his resignation.
“It’s a big shock because he’s done so much for the county from his involvement with the minors to the seniors,” said PRO Colm Beirne.
“We’re all still in shock and over the next few days there will be a lot of talk about the great work he is doing.
” Sometime soon there will be a selection committee formed and we will begin the process of finding a replacement.”
O’Donnell cited family commitments for his decision but hopes are high within the county that he will return to manage the senior side in the future.
In 2007, after taking the minors to the All-Ireland quarter-final, he took a break for a year but returned in 2008 to turn the seniors into a competitive force once again.
One thing is certain, he is still highly regarded in the county.
“The board would like to extend its gratitude to Fergal and his management team,” a statement from county board read.
“Their hard work, dedication and level of professionalism was greatly appreciated by the board, the players and supporters.”