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GAA jobs will have to be done by book: Christy Cooney

With three Ulster counties — Derry, Fermanagh and Cavan — among a raft of teams currently seeking new football bosses, Croke Park has stepped in to issue a sharp reminder that proper procedures must be followed in the appointments process.

The GAA hierarchy, mindful of the chaos that resulted in Cork and Limerick when players took exception to the appointments of Gerald McCarthy and Justin McCarthy respectively, is keen to ensure that there is no repetition of so-called ‘player power’ raising its head again to such an extent.

And with president Christy Cooney having reiterated his desire to set in motion an investigation into the alleged payment of managers at club and county level over and above their statutory expenses, the spotlight is now very firmly fixed on those in charge of teams

Director General Paraic Duffy has made it clear that counties must adhere to the accepted protocol in relation to managerial appointments rather than having names “plucked from thin air.”

Derry, Fermanagh and Cavan are currently seeking nominations from their clubs of individuals who might be capable of and interested in taking up managerial positions although the management committees in each of these and indeed other counties can also make nominations.

Croke Park chiefs are anxious to ensure that all managerial appointments which are made in future will be met with what is termed “general agreement” within counties.

“We don’t want to see managers appointed on a whim or just because someone happens to be readily available. It’s important that club delegates are largely happy with whoever is put in place, the feeling being that their views will be representative of

players and followers at grassroots level,” said a spokesman.

While John Brennan now appears to be the frontrunner to take over from Damian Cassidy in Derry, there is still a school of thought within the county that would favour an ‘outside’ appointment — and this is the kind of speculation that the GAA hierarchy is anxious to defuse.

In Fermanagh, clubs have already been sounded out in relation to nominations for the manager’s job vacated by Malachy O’Rourke and a management committee meeting will be held shortly to discuss these following which an interviewing process will begin.

“We want to ensure transparency and to try and get the best person available. It’s essential that we try and get it right as we would like to get out of Division Four as quickly as possible,” says chairman Peter Carty.

Meanwhile, in Cavan, where a source has revealed that Joe Kernan is already being “spoken about” in the context of succeeding Tommy Carr, county board officials are keen to appoint someone who will be deemed capable of getting the team out of Division Three of the National League in the first instance.

Earlier this month former Down boss Peter McGrath had been mentioned as one of the possible successors to Tommy Carr.

But if Cavan are wise they will be in no hurry to make a decision, for it’s a decision that will have far reaching ramifications for the county.

Even Cavan people have trouble making sense of the county’s chequered history.

Five times the Sam Maguire has come to the county but sadly the last time was as far back as 1952.

Belfast Telegraph

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