BY CHRIS MCNULTY
INTERMEDIATE champions Naomh Muire are on the look out for a new manager.
Danny O’Donnell has confirmed to the club that he is stepping down after five years at the helm of the Lower Rosses side.
Naomh Muire will play in the senior championship again in 2014 after defeating St Naul’s to win the Intermediate title this year. Two weeks ago they ensured survival in Division 2 thanks to a play-off win over Sean MacCumhaills. In the moments after that game, O’Donnell confirmed to his players that he was moving on.
A teacher in Carndonagh Community School and based in Letterkenny has made for a gruelling schedule.
“It was a very tough decision. It was the toughest decision of my football life,” he told the Donegal News this week.
“Naomh Muire is my club and I’ve been with them all my life. That said, I think the time is right for a change.
“A fresh voice and a fresh approach will benefit the club. The aim was to consolodate the club in Division 2 and get back into the senior championship. We achieved that.”
O’Donnell was a selector for three years under John Joe Doherty and, when Doherty went into manage Donegal in 2009, O’Donnell stepped into the breach.
They won Division 3 in 2011 and, as well as the Intermediate title of this year, they won the All-Ireland Gaeltacht Championship in 2011 and the Donegal Under 21 ‘B’ Championship in 2009.
He said: “There was obvious temptation to stick at it, but I didn’t want to out stay my time. Initially I thought three years would have been enough, but here I am after five years.
“These were the best years of my life in football. You have a sense of responsibility to the players and the club,
“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t a yo-yo club anymore. Progression has been the word.”
O’Donnell paid tribute to his selectors Johnny Gallagher and John McGarvey and has voiced the opinion that the county management could do worse than to run the rule over a couple of his players.
With the recent development at The Banks having been officially opened, the future is bright in more ways than one around Mullachderg way.
O’Donnell said: “I’m leaving behind a great young, vibrant team. They proved to be a team of huge potential. Whoever comes in will be getting a very dedicated bunch of players. Sometimes people will dismiss the commitment given by players, but there are very few teams that will get a bunch as committed as those Naomh Muire lads.
“With a fresh impetus, there is no reason they can’t kick on.”