Derry board seek nominations from clubs for manager

By Niall McCoy

DERRY clubs will have a two-week period to nominate candidates for the vacant Oakleaf job following Mickey Harte’s departure on Monday.

Officials met on Tuesday night to start the replacement process and the clubs are set to have the first say with nominations due back towards the end of July.

Former Derry manager Rory Gallagher, who saw a temporary ban by Ulster GAA following allegations over his personal life overturned by the Disputes Resolution Authority in February, has been noted as a potential successor, as has current Glen boss Malachy O’Rourke – although O’Rourke’s interest in the position is not believed to be massive at this point.

Despite a growing feeling within the county that Harte was going to ride out the storm of their disappointing championship campaign and push through to year two, the situation changed over the weekend and he instead opted to step down after a single season in charge.

His appointment last September caused shockwaves, especially as he was expected to continue with Louth.

It started brightly with a McKenna Cup success and that was followed by a stunning Division One campaign that concluded with a thrilling penalty shoot-out success against Dublin in the final.

Despite being viewed as serious contenders for Sam Maguire, Derry’s season fell apart in the championship with a quartet of losses to Donegal, Galway, Armagh and Kerry by a combined 27 points.

In a statement announcing his departure, Harte said: “I have decided to step down as manager of the Derry Senior Football team. I would like to thank the players for the huge commitment they gave to the Derry jersey during the 2024 season.

“I would also like to thank Gavin (Devlin) and the entire backroom team for their hard work, dedication and expertise. Thanks too for the support of the County Board and all those generous sponsors of the GAA in Derry. Finally, I wish the players every success in the years ahead.”

Chairperson of Derry GAA John Keenan added:, “We sincerely thank Mickey, Gavin and their entire backroom team for their hard work and dedication throughout the 2024 season.

“We wish them the very best in their future endeavours.”

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