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Search for GAA bosses reaches a critical stage

Three of the four Ulster counties still seeking new football team managers will next week step up their plans to have the roles filled.

The process of interviewing candidates for the vacant Derry job will commence forthwith according to chairman John Keenan while on Tuesday night and Monaghan county board officials will meet with members of this year’s playing squad to clear the air in relation to certain issues following the decision to seek nominations for the manager’s job rather than automatically re-appoint Seamus McEnaney.

And the Fermanagh Management Committee will meet on Monday night following which a sub-committee will be put in place to interview applicants for the post vacated by Malachy O’Rourke.

Cavan is the other Ulster county which is still managerless and it is understood that officials there are picking their steps carefully in the appointment process after the team’s dramatic fall from grace under Tommy Carr.

In contrast, Derry’s hierarchy is keen to see a new man at the helm as quickly as possible.

“We are certainly not rushing things but we feel it is only fair that whoever is appointed should be given maximum time in which to formulate his plans and draw up a squad for next year,” says chairman John Keenan.

“The McKenna Cup competition tends to come round very quickly and I have no doubt that there is a seam of talent within Derry right now that could be harnessed into a winning combination.”

And he acknowledges that Damian Cassidy, who stepped down following Derry’s exit from the All Ireland qualifiers, did not always get the rub of the green.

“I would have to be honest and say that the last occasion on which any Derry manager had a full hand from which to deal was in the 2008 National League final when Paddy Crozier supervised our victory over Kerry,” states Keenan.

“In contrast last year and this year Damian was seriously handicapped by the non-availability of several key players for league and Championship matches and that certainly did not help his cause.”

Meanwhile, Monaghan chairman Paul Curran is anxious that this year’s playing squad should be made fully aware of the background to the decision to seek nominations for the post of manager rather than rubber-stamp the appointment of Seamus McEnaney.

“We plan to meet the players on Tuesday and explain to them that we had to bow to the wishes of club delegates at last Monday night’s board meeting,” says Curran.

“There are certain procedures to be followed in this situation. Nevertheless we understand that the players are very much behind Seamus continuing as manager and for this reason we would feel that he could have a very strong case should he allow his name to go forward again for the post.”

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