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Gallagher

Search begins for Gallagher successor

As the county absorbs the news of Rory Gallagher’s departure, thoughts turn to who will be next to take on the mantle of senior manager.
In some respects the team is in a period of transition. Players like Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones and Barry Mulrone have over 100 games in the county jersey, while the likes of Declan McCusker, Sean Quigley and Tomás Corrigan aren’t far off the century mark.
At the other end of the spectrum MacRory and Hogan Cup success this year were followed by the county’s first u20 win in a decade, as signs of a long awaited revival in underage fortunes finally began to manifest themselves.
The primary aim for any incoming manager will be holding a steady course as the young talent works its way into the senior ranks. Maintaining NFL Division 2 status would be a significant achievement over the course of the next few years.
The Fermanagh County Board will meet next Monday when it is expected procedures will be put in place to begin the search for a successor to Gallagher.
 
FRONT RUNNERS
Dom Corrigan
The St Michael’s teacher has already had a spell at the helm with his native county, guiding Fermanagh to the All-Ireland quarter-finals in 2003. Shortly afterwards he had a two year stint in charge of Sligo. He has created a situation where St Michael’s are perennial MacRory Cup contenders, and has steered the college to wins in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2012 and 2019. This year the Kinawley man carved out a place in history when he won the Hogan Cup, Fermanagh’s first ever grade A All-Ireland title. 
Would have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the county’s player pool and has a proven track record in developing young players. In his previous inter-county posts he showed he also has what it takes to succeed at senior level too.
 
Malachy O’Rourke
The Derrylin man has built up an illustrious managerial pedigree. He steered Loup to their first Derry title in 68 years, following that up with an Ulster title. He went on to manage Errigal Ciaran taking them to county glory in 2006. He managed Fermanagh from 2007 to 2010, steering the county to the 2008 Ulster Final where they only lost after a replay to Armagh. He returned to inter-county management in 2012 with Monaghan and took the side to Ulster titles in 2013 and 2015. Stepped down earlier this summer after seven years with the Farney men. 
He would be a hugely popular appointment, but O’Rourke is said to be determined to take some time away from the inter-county scene to recharge the batteries.
 
Kieran Donnelly
The Brookeborough native was a steady servant as a county player and has since gone on to show considerable intelligence as a manager of men. He has overseen successive Monaghan county title with Scotstown, and guided them to the 2018 Ulster Club SFC final where they just lost out to Donegal’s Gaoth Dobhair. A teacher with Omagh CBS he oversaw the senior side’s run to a convincing MacCormack Cup victory against St Pat’s Armagh in January this year, but lost out in the MacRory decider to St Michael’s Enniskillen.
As someone who already has a good feel for the talent available in the county and experience in bringing young players through he would be another popular pick.   
 
Ryan McMenamin
Won every honour there was to win in the game as rugged and ruthless defender with Tyrone. 
Got early inter-county managerial with the Tyrone minors, before going on to enjoy success in the women’s game. Managed the St Macartan’s ladies to a number of senior championship titles in Tyrone and to Ulster success in 2017, before losing out to a Cora Staunton powered Carnacon at the semi-final stages. Was a surprise inclusion in Rory Gallagher’s back room team when it was announced in 2017.
Has a good knowledge of the player pool available in the county, and looks to have the appetite to cut his teeth at senior inter-county managerial level.
 
OUTSIDE BETS 
Archie Green
The Derrygonnelly stalwart steered his native club to a first ever three-in-a-row of senior county titles between 2015 and 2017. After that Green succeeded Peter McGinnity in the hot seat at newly promoted Aghyaran in Tyrone. The club finished third from bottom in 2018, being relegated in a play-off. The west Tyrone outfit have been in the lower half of Division 2 this year.
 
Raymond Johnston
The Newtownbutler man was part of Pete McGrath’s back room team, helping to take the county to the All-Ireland quarter-finals in 2015 where they went as close to Dublin as anyone did that year. Was well regarded by players and is highly rated as a coach. Since then he has been managing on the club scene in Cavan
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