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Gallagher takes over Donegal reins and tipped to bring more success


New regime: Rory Gallagher (left) has stepped into the Donegal hotseat vacated by Jim McGuinness

New regime: Rory Gallagher (left) has stepped into the Donegal hotseat vacated by Jim McGuinness

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

New regime: Rory Gallagher (left) has stepped into the Donegal hotseat vacated by Jim McGuinness

Donegal have moved swiftly to replace Jim McGuinness as manager, electing to appoint his former assistant Rory Gallagher.

The Fermanagh man takes over the hotseat in the north west, having previously been part of Donegal's second All-Ireland win in 2012, as well as the Ulster titles of 2011 and 2012.

After Donegal's torrid 2013, in which they lost their Ulster title to Monaghan and shortly afterwards suffered a 16-point defeat to Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-final, Gallagher and McGuinness parted ways.

In recent seasons he has been heavily involved in coaching with the Kilcar club, and this year was their manager.

Others in the race to take over included former Naomh Conaill manager Cathal Corey and ex-Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland club winning manager Paddy Carr.

Former Donegal attacker and prominent Gaelic football analyst Brendan Devenney believes that the Donegal County Board have made the correct decision in handing the reins to the 36-year-old Killybegs shop proprietor.

"Everything has changed now in tactics so I think you need a new-age manager, a man who has played himself," he says.

"It's got so ultra-tactical now that to me, the only other fella who would have been capable of it would have been Tony McEntee.

"The fact that Rory parted company with him (McGuinness) is a good thing, because the thing would have been a bit stale if he had have taken it over from McGuinness.

"What McGuinness did, over the first two years, he has that in his locker. But I am sure he wants to do his own thing as well. Knowing him as I do, if he puts a good backroom team together, he can freshen it up somewhat, introduce different types of training with maybe the core logic that McGuinness was running with.

"His first meeting with the players will be important, how he sets the tone and works with them.

"Some guys are thinking about retiring, the likes of Eamonn McGee, Rory Kavanagh has come out and more or less stated it.

"Those guys could have their part to play and have their minds changed, but it is up to Rory to show them that the football is going to be enjoyable, the training is going to be enjoyable."

As well as tempting back some of the veterans for another tilt at glory, Gallagher will also surely re-introduce Mark McHugh, who left after the Division Two league final loss to Monaghan earlier this year.

Devenney adds: "It would take someone like him, because the players will know it's something similar to what Jim was doing and they had a lot of success off the back of that.

"Things need to be professional because of the way Donegal play and where they were before Jim.

"Rory is the best appointment. Donegal is always a difficult place geographically to get to for most managers but Rory is living in the county. Everything was pointing towards him and I think it was the right decision."

Meanwhile the GAA's Central Council will meet today to discuss the possibility of playing off the club championships in the one calendar year.

The idea, which was first mooted in part two of the Football Review Committee under the Chairmanship of Eugene McGee, was discussed at central level back in June, and a working group was established soon after.

It included Director-General Paraic Duffy, GAA President Liam O'Neill and former Cork goalkeeper and Gaelic Players' Association President Donal Óg Cusack.

Power to make such decisions ultimately rests with the Central Competitions Control Committee but it is understood that some major players in the GAA would favour the All-Ireland county series being condensed to allow for more club action before the weather turns inclement.

The changes would take effect after the 2015 season, meaning that the 2016 All-Ireland club series would be wrapped up before Christmas of the same year.

Belfast Telegraph