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Derry chairman pleased with search for new manager

By John Campbell

Derry county board chairman John Keenan last night expressed his “considerable satisfaction” with the response from clubs to the call for nominations for the post of football team manager in succession to Damian Cassidy.

A meeting of the Derry Executive Committee will be held shortly to finalise arrangements for interviewing candidates and Keenan is optimistic that the Oak Leaf county will unearth a manager capable of improving its fortunes.

Sunday was the closing date for nominations and Keenan along with other county officials has been surprised at the level of interest shown in the position.

“I believe that the number of nominees is indicative of a desire on the part of several individuals to improve Derry’s fortunes and this gives me cause for considerable satisfaction,” says Keenan.

“It is certainly heart-warming to note the response we have had and now it is up to the county board to make an appointment that will prove the precursor to better days.”

Derry, relegated from Division One of the National League and beaten by Armagh in the preliminary round of the Ulster Championship before making an ignominious exit from the All Ireland Qualifiers to Kildare, have certainly had a forgettable season.

But Keenan is anxious that people should look to the future rather than dwell on the past.

“It is absolutely vital that those who have been nominated are committed and agreeable to working in the best interests of Derry football. For this reason we will be picking our steps carefully in the selection process,” says Keenan.

And while it is known that a number of people like 1993 All Ireland winner Damien Barton have acquired considerable experience in management at club level, Keenan makes the point that it is a “huge step up” to become a county team boss.

“I think it is generally agreed that being in charge of a county team is a 24/7 job and requires great self-sacrifice,” he added.

“We recognise this and that’s why we are encouraged by both the number and calibre of candidates that are allowing their names to go forward for the position.

“For the moment we must retain confidentiality as we want to make absolutely certain that those nominated are really focussed on landing the role.”

Derry are in no rush to name their new manager but Keenan admits that if the process can be completed sooner rather than later then this will be best for all concerned.

“But our primary task is to get what we believe to be the right person,” said Keenan.

“If this means that it will take a little more time then so be it. It’s a big decision, after all.”

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