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Barton and McGrath are facing uncertain future

 

By John Campbell

Three Ulster counties have now exited the All-Ireland senior football championship race — and in two of them managerial decisions in relation to the future are expected sooner rather than later.

It is understood that Peter McGrath has already had discussions with Fermanagh county board officials pertaining to his continued involvement.

However, no formal announcement as to his plans has been forthcoming as yet.

And Derry boss Damian Barton may decide to step down following his team’s collapse in extra-time against Mayo in Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier at Elvery’s McHale Park, Castlebar.

It is believed that his backroom team has already taken the decision to step down.

Barton has been in charge for two years but endured a turbulent period this term.

His side were relegated to division three in the league before losing to Tyrone in the Ulster Championship. They overcame minnows Waterford in the qualifiers before Saturday’s setback. Mayo were unimpressive for 60 minutes of a game that went to extra-time when Stephen Rochford’s side won by 2-21 to 1-13.

In Antrim, the third Ulster county to have been cast into the shadows, Frank Fitzsimons and Gearoid Adams are understood to be keen to remain.

Meanwhile, Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has been round too many blocks to read much into his team’s embarrassingly lop-sided 1-23 to 0-15 victory over Cork in yesterday’s Munster final.

In truth, the match was never really a contest such was the Kingdom’s dominance in almost every sector of play.

Kerry’s twin strike force comprising Paul Geaney and James O’Donoghue shared eight points before the break when their side led by 0-11 to 0-7 A Geaney goal in the 64th minute added unnecessary gloss to the performance.

Meath and Clare, two sides that copper-fastened their places in Division Two of the league, showed they could yet experience extended qualifier journeys, following wins over Sligo and Laois respectively.

While Meath have not been playing with great conviction lately, they nonetheless can take heart from their 0-14 to 1-9 win over the Yeats County.

Meanwhile Clare continue to cling to their status as championship dark horses by the emphatic manner in which they beat Laois (2-18 to 0-14).

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