New Donegal boss Gallagher salutes McGuinness

Newly-appointed Donegal manager Rory Gallagher last night expressed his gratitude to predecessor Jim McGuinness.

Having been McGuinness’s No 2 for three years, including for the 2012 All-Ireland win, Gallagher was ratified on a three-year term with the option of a fourth.

“It’s a privilege to be back involved,” he said last night in Ballybofey. “The attitude, commitment, honesty and ability of those players has to be admired. I would like to thank Jim for giving me the opportunity towards the end of 2010 to get involved.

“Not only was it was a wonderful experience, it was a special period in my life and I would like to thank Jim for the position he has left Donegal football in as the dominant team in the province. I’m looking forward to working with the team.”

A native of Belleek, Co Fermanagh, Gallagher lives in Killybegs and is joint manager of Kilcar with John McNulty.

Two weeks ago, the Donegal County Board stated that all applications for the position of senior manager would be kept in-house. However, Gallagher’s nomination was publicised, as was Paddy Carr’s from Fanad Gaels, Anthony Harkin’s, courtesy of Ardara, with Naomh Conaill putting forward Cathal Corey.

Gallagher takes over a side beaten 2-6 to 0-9 by Kerry in September’s All-Ireland final. Their Ulster championship retention begins with a tricky preliminary round tie at home to Tyrone in May, with the winners scheduled to face Armagh in the provincial quarter-finals.

Last night’s county committee also confirmed Declan Bonner would continue in the role of minor manager, while Maxi Curran remains in charge of the county’s U21s.

Gallagher insisted one of his first responsibilities is to liaise with the clubs to ensure a workable fixture chart for 2015.

He said: “I don’t know the solution just yet but I am willing to sit down with the clubs and devise fixtures in both league and championship that will benefit the county team and the club teams.

“The players belong to the clubs and have helped to them to reach the level of skill they are at and I understand that. We will find the best way forward.”

Meanwhile, Naomh Conaill were last night having the appeal heard to the Ulster Hearings Committee into their Donegal SFC semi-final loss to Glenswilly.

Glenswilly’s Ciaran Bonner wasn’t dismissed despite having been both yellow and black carded over the course of the match. Bonner’s replacement, Oisin Crawford, put his team a point up in injury-time on their way to a 0-10 to 0-8 victory.

Naomh Conaill’s ‘objection to the awarding of the game’ to Glenswilly was rejected by the Donegal CCC on Wednesday night but took the appeal option, which can be made within 72 hours of hearing the decision.

Glenswilly are due to meet St Eunan’s of Letterkenny in tomorrow’s final.


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