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Harbinson edges closer to Antrim post as Donegal wait


By John Campbell

With many counties getting their houses in order for next season, uncertainty nonetheless still prevails in some quarters in relation to the identity of new senior football managers.

While Derry and Fermanagh have moved to fill the voids created by the departures of Damian Barton and Peter McGrath by drafting in Damian McErlain and Rory Gallagher respectively, Antrim and Donegal remain managerless while Monaghan and Down await formal confirmation that the current incumbents will continue in their roles.

Confirmation of the new Antrim boss may be provided next week now that all three candidates - John McKeever, Aidan O'Rourke and Lenny Harbinson - have completed the review process. Former St Gall's manager Harbinson, who guided the west Belfast outfit to the All-Ireland Club title seven years ago, is understood to be the favourite.

But it is now believed that no formal announcement in relation to the new Donegal boss will be made until next month.

The three candidates - Declan Bonner, Cathal Corey and Sean Paul Barrett - have each undergone a second interview and it is now understood that the five-strong committee will make their recommendation to the county executive.

The appointment of the new boss is then expected to be formally ratified at the next county board meeting on October 2.

Armagh have already given Kieran McGeeney the green light to continue in his post. Following relegation in the league, the former 2002 All-Ireland-winning captain guided the Orchard County into the All-Ireland quarter-finals last month.

Meanwhile, Down and Monaghan are still understood to be awaiting formal confirmation that Eamonn Burns and Malachy O'Rourke will continue in their respective posts.

Burns supervised an impressive Down renaissance this year and seems likely to continue in his post while O'Rourke had earlier indicated that he wanted to take some time out to consider his position.

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