By Frank Craig
Donegal’s search for a new senior football boss is nearing its conclusion but it may take a wee while longer than anticipated to get it over the line.
The Donegal News has learned that the three-person committee in charge with identifying Declan Bonner’s successor have narrowed their hunt down to what are described as two outstanding candidates.
But the stumbling block at this moment appears to be that the same individuals are currently involved with club management positions within the province. And the final dialogue needed to split both men has had to be put on the back burner for the time being.
Still – it seems that both the Donegal board and their head-hunting trio are content to play that waiting game so long as they get a suitable candidate.
Meanwhile, it’s also understood that all current Donegal senior football panelists, who are no longer involved in club championship, have already been furnished with their own tailored strength, conditioning and aerobic programmes ahead of the 2023 season.
Croke Park are yet to officially inform counties when they can collectively begin training once more but in Donegal’s case, it will most likely be early November. Because of that, and while it might irk supporters further in the next number of weeks, Donegal are prepared to hold off on their final deliberations before they make the final decision on their next boss.
It’s now eight weeks since Bonner stepped away from the position he occupied for the previous five seasons. And it’s been over three months since Armagh sealed his fate in that heavy 3-17 to 0-16 All-Ireland Qualifier loss.
Little to no information on the subsequent task to find a new manager, on the record at least, has been forthcoming in the time since.
The identity of the three-person committee assigned to carry out that process has also been kept under wraps as were the nominations and interview stages thereafter.
With Jim McGuinness a non runner from the very outset, Malachy O’Rourke and Martin McHugh quickly became the new names immediately to the fore.
This paper was able to rule both men out at various stages along the way.
However, in the latter’s case, he still has to publicly distance himself from the speculation that continues to link him to the job.
Regardless, it seems there will be no movement or official announcement on the matter in the next fortnight at the very least.