Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

McStay heads Fermanagh list to follow Peter Canavan

All new: Race to succeed Peter Canavan as Erne boss is under way PRESsEYE
All new: Race to succeed Peter Canavan as Erne boss is under way PRESsEYE

FERMANAGH GAA chiefs are moving fast to appoint a successor to Peter Canavan, who resigned his post on Monday night.

After County Chairman Patsy Dolan had announced Canavan's departure, he immediately appealed to clubs to begin the process of replacing him.

County Public Relations Officer Johnny McManus said: "We are now awaiting nominations from the clubs and hopefully the whole thing will move along steadily.

"All county board officers are entitled to make a nomination as well as clubs. We can send in a name as long as that person is willing to let their name go forward."

Already, a number of high-profile candidates have been placed in the frame. It's understood that an approach has been made to the All-Ireland club winning manager Kevin McStay.

The former Mayo corner-forward guided Roscommon club St Brigid's to the Andy Merrigan Cup last March when they beat no less than Crossmaglen Rangers – who were hunting down three All-Irelands in a row – in the semi-final, before getting the better of Ballymun Kickhams in the final.

If Fermanagh were to pursue McStay, they would face potential competition from Kildare where he could also come under consideration.

Having retired from the defence forces earlier this year after 31 years of service, an inter-county job could appeal to McStay who would be likely to take former Mayo team mate Liam McHale on a joint management ticket.

From within the county, an obvious candidate is Fermanagh's first All-Star – from back in 1982 – Peter McGinnity.

Having won MacRory Cups with St Michael's Enniskillen, McGinnity also delivered Killyclogher's only Tyrone Senior Championship in 2003.

He was also part of the International Rules coaching team that visited Australia the same year, working under John O'Keefe.

In recent years, since retiring as a teacher, McGinnity was employed as a county development coach, but stepped down from that role only last month.

This weekend he leads his Roslea Shamrocks club into the county semi-final against St Joseph's, and having taken on his home town side at a low ebb, he delivered two county titles, in 2010 and 2011.

Speaking yesterday, McGinnity would not talk about the prospect of managing his county, instead saying: "I am interested in Fermanagh and I am disappointed that Peter Canavan left.

"I thought there was serious progress made over this last couple of years.

"Looking now I am not sure what would happen. The disappointment is still nearly tangible.

"We are where we are regardless of how we have got here. I would be very interested to see Fermanagh move forward."

Other names that may crop up include Justin McNulty, who recently departed Laois after three seasons in charge, while an attempt to woo Kieran McGeeney may be wildly ambitious and unrealistic.

In the meantime, county PRO McManus stated: "We can't comment on specific examples at this time, and we won't be making any public comment on individual candidates until such time as the process is complete.

"The county chairman did say at the meeting that by the end of September he expected to have the process rightly down the line.

"We are looking at early October. It needs to be that because the county team are able to go back out training in November.

"You don't want to be getting into a situation like we had with Peter Canavan, who came in late November and it left him having to do slogging training through January. At least if a person comes in early it gives them a good opportunity to start anew."

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