O'Rourke to remain in charge of Donegal for championship 

Speaking after Sunday’s defeat in Dr Hyde Park, O’Rourke had expressed uncertainty about remaining on in the role.
O'Rourke to remain in charge of Donegal for championship 

STAYING ON: Donegal joint interim manager Aidan O'Rourke during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Roscommon and Donegal at Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon. Pic: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Armagh’s 2002 All-Ireland SFC winner Aidan O’Rourke is to remain on in charge of Donegal’s senior footballers into this year’s championship.

Along with ex-Derry forward Paddy Bradley, former Armagh, Down and Kildare coach and ex-Louth manager O’Rourke came on board as part of Paddy Carr’s management team last October.

Following Carr’s decision to step down last week after being approached to do so by a number of senior Donegal players representing the panel, O’Rourke took charge of the team along with Bradley for last Sunday’s Division 1 final round defeat to Roscommon. 

The loss confirmed Donegal’s relegation from the top-flight.

O’Rourke will also be assisted by Antoin McFadden who was appointed as strength and conditioning coach to the senior and U20 Donegal teams in last Thursday’s county board meeting.

A statement from Donegal GAA this evening read: “Aidan O’Rourke will continue as interim manager and head coach of the Donegal Senior Squad for the Ulster Championship and for the 2023 All-Ireland series. Paddy Bradley will assist Aidan. CLG Dhún na nGall are also delighted to welcome Antoin McFadden as Strength and Conditioning coach.” 

Speaking after Sunday’s defeat in Dr Hyde Park, O’Rourke had expressed uncertainty about remaining on in the role, although Donegal chairman Fergus McGee had last week told club delegates that he hoped the Dromintee man would stay on in charge for the season.

O’Rourke said: “Ultimately, when Paddy (Carr) asked us to take the boys as far as today, it was difficult to do that. But, ultimately, we were asked to do a job with the Donegal senior team and to not finish the league out would have been really difficult to do and Paddy, in particular, felt that should be done in terms of the commitment that was given at the start of the year.

“It was a long week, a long week for everybody, and the people who feel this the most are the players. They still have to go and prepare and play football, that’s extremely difficult in the circumstances.” 

Donegal face Down in an Ulster SFC quarter-final in Newry’s Páirc Esler on April 23 and are all but certain of being among the 16 team Sam Maguire Cup having finished 10th in the league places.

Donegal captain Paddy McBrearty insisted following the Roscommon game that the team will be a different proposition in the provincial competition. 

Donegal have featured in 10 of the last 12 Ulster finals.

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