The Donegal County Board aim to have a replacement for outgoing manager Jim McGuinness by the end of October.
McGuinness informed the county board on Friday night he planned to step aside after four years at the helm with the senior footballers, having previously worked with the U21s, who he took to the 2010 Ulster title and All-Ireland final.
McGuinness informed the board from Scotland, where he works as sports psychologist with Celtic FC on Friday, before departing for a family holiday on Saturday.
“It was a shock,” county chairman Sean Dunnion told Highland Radio. “The overwhelming sentiment from the county and all over Ireland is gratitude. It has been an unprecedented period in our history and Jim McGuinness’s fingerprints are all over it.
“It’s been unbelievable. He’s left a great legacy. We’re indebted. He has left us with so many great memories and brought great pride to the county.”
The county executive have a scheduled meeting tonight in Ballybofey, where the vacant senior, U21 and minor managerial positions will be discussed.
Maxi Curran and Rory Gallagher took the U21 side to last year’s Ulster final, where they lost to Cavan, while Declan Bonner’s minors won the Ulster championship and made the All-Ireland final.
Both Gallagher, McGuinness’s No2 from 2011 to last year, and Bonner are believed to be in the running for the position of senior manager. Martin McHugh, Kevin McStay, Damien Diver and Peter Canavan have also been mooted. “We hope to conclude this by the end of October,” said Dunnion.
Meanwhile, Sligo have begun a process to find a new manager as uncertainty surrounds Pat Flanagan, linked with a position in his native Offaly. The executive of Sligo GAA County Committee authorised a sub-committee to seek someone to manage the county senior panel.
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