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Ulster counties get ready to put new managers in place

By John Campbell

Derry, Fermanagh and Monaghan all hope to ratify the appointment of new county football team managers within the next month.

While there is a growing sense of frustration within all three counties that the managerial vacancies have not been filled, the respective boards are currently picking their steps carefully in the selection process particularly as GAA Director General Paraic Duffy has again reminded them of the importance of following the new procedures that have been laid down.

Sub-committees have been set up in each of the counties to undertake what is referred to as an interviewing process, although Derry chairman John Keenan prefers to describe this as a “discussion forum.”

The Castledawson man has already made it clear that everything possible is being done to ensure that the right person is appointed but he is insisting that nominees will be invited for discussion rather than a more formal interview.

“We want to know precisely what each candidate feels he can bring to the table. At this point in time, we have six nominees in front of us. It is absolutely imperative we get the right man who can bring Derry football forward,” says Keenan.

John Brennan, presently the manager of Lavey who will be involved in the Derry football championship semi-finals at the weekend, is thought to be a front runner.

Henry Downey, who skippered Derry to All Ireland success in 1993, would be part of his management team if he was to be appointed. Damien Barton, a colleague of Downey’s in that side, is also believed to be a runner.

Current Antrim boss Liam Bradley was thought to have pitched his hat into the Derry ring but he has been at the vast majority of the Antrim senior club championship matches to date in his trawl for fresh talent and his commitment to the Saffrons would appear to be absolute.

And while there has been speculation that former boss Dominic Corrigan might return to the Fermanagh helm, it is understood that only three nominees — John O’Neill, Darren Chapman and Sean Maguire — will be interviewed by a special sub-committee over the course of the coming week.

Monaghan chairman Paul Curran, having admitted at Monday’s county board meeting that mistakes were made earlier when the quest for a new manager was initially launched, is now keen to see the selection process expedited. Eamon McEnaney, Mick O’Dowd and Bernie Murray are understood to be in the frame.

Belfast Telegraph

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