Despite Declan Bonner’s ratification as Donegal manager for 2020, his head coach Stephen Rochford is believed to be a live candidate to replace Kevin Walsh as Galway senior football manager.
Walsh yesterday put an end to a few days of speculation by confirming his departure after five years at the helm. County officials had been keen for him to remain on but chairman Pat Keaney explained he took the decision to step aside himself.
Rochford, who guided Corofin to an All-Ireland title in 2015, has been touted for the role alongside David Morris who he worked with in the club. Ballinrobe-based Rochford was part of Bonner’s set-up in Donegal this season having spent three years as Mayo manager during which he led them to two All-Ireland finals.
Current U20 manager Pádraic Joyce, aided by coach and Irish Examiner columnist John Divilly, has also been linked with the position but it is uncertain if the pair are interested at this point in time.
An edited version of Walsh’s resignation statement appeared on the Galway website yesterday. It excluded Walsh’s hopes for Galway to continue adopting proposals made by Walsh and his management team. “I emphatically believe that there are great things to come for Galway football.
"Having had the opportunity to work with professionals at the top of their field over the last number of years, I would like to see the recommendations in our reports to the county board which included facilities and equipment, operations, alignment and development of underage teams through to senior level, finance, competition structures, player-development and -welfare, medical screening and deep-level coaching continue to be implemented in the interests of Galway going forward.”
Walsh believes he has left Galway football in a better place. “It was both an honour and a privilege to manage our county to two Connacht titles, promotion to Division 1, and maintaining that status.
When we took over in 2015, we sought to introduce structures to achieve the two core objectives of making Galway football more competitive and leaving Galway football in a better position.
Over 25 players have made their senior championship debuts for Galway since then, and the commitment of the players over the years, has been one of the key factors in achieving those objectives. We would like to thank them for their dedication and friendship.
"We wish to acknowledge the substantial contribution of the backroom team, in putting in place the systems and processes, that have been the foundation of what was built over the past few years.
“In many ways, the forgotten heroes of the modern game are our families, without their understanding, support and commitment, none of this would be possible.
"We would like to thank our sponsors and, in particular, Pat and Una McDonagh of Supermac’s, whose contribution to Galway GAA in general is the envy of counties throughout the country.
“We would like to thank the Galway County Board for their support and giving us the opportunity to manage our county. Finally, we would like to thank the genuine Galway football supporters. Your passion for the maroon and white never went unnoticed.
"I am honoured to have been given my chance to leave Galway football in a better place and I wish the players and new management team every success in the future.”
Meanwhile, Colm Collins was last night ratified as Clare senior football manager for an eighth season. However, it will be next month before anything is confirmed regarding the hurling situation.
Collins will lead the Banner for an eighth season and speaking after the meeting, he stated retaining the same management team was “key” in his decision to stay on.
Head of sport science at UL, Brian Carson will continue as coach along with selectors Enda Coughlan, Declan Downes, Evan Shanahan, and All-Ireland-winning goalkeeper Declan O’Keeffe.
The most important thing when you work with any group of players is to get the best out of them and get them to play to their potential and give them every opportunity to help them achieve, that’s basically it, whatever group ends up on our panel for 2020 we will achieve what we can achieve with that group of players, that would be key.
Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Dermot Coughlan was ratified as minor football manager. However, the future of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor as senior hurling co-managers remains unclear.
Elsewhere, Rory Gallagher has been given a three-year term as the Derry senior football manager. The former Donegal and Fermanagh boss has ex-Derry star Enda Muldoon in his management team along with Ciaran Meenagh.