By Chris McNulty
A FIVE-PERSON committee will oversee the appointment of a successor to departed Donegal football manager Jim McGuinness.
Last night at the monthly meeting of the Donegal county committee, the process of appointing a new manager was outlined to delegates.
County Chairman Sean Dunnion, secretary Aodh Mairtín Ó Fearraigh and treasurer Cieran Kelly will be joined by another member of the county executive – yet to be selected – and a fifth person to be identified once the candidates are known.
A closing date of Friday-week, October 17, has been put on nominations, while power was also given to the committee to headhunt any prospective candidates they believe to be suitable for the job.
McGuinness confirmed on Friday night that he was stepping down from the position after winning three Ulster titles and masterminding the capture of Sam Maguire in 2012. He had just completed the fourth year of what was a four-year term in office.
While none of the mooted candidates have declared their intention, Rory Gallagher, McGuinness’s assistant for the first three years of his tenure, is the early front-runner, but his mind remains on Kilcar’s Donegal SFC pursuit.
Declan Bonner, who guided Donegal to their first ever All-Ireland minor final this year, is among the early favourites. Bonner has kept his cards close to his chest, but is thought that his preference is to be given another year as minor manager.
A host of names have been bandied about but no-one has officially confirmed their candidacy yet for a job that is now more high-profile than it has ever been.
“Jim has given five years of total commitment and dedication to Donegal football,” Mr Dunnion told last night’s meeting.
“Not only did he inspire a special group of players, he also inspired the people of the county to achieve anything they want.
“He has left a tremendous legacy. He has left the people of the county with many great memories. We will reap the benefits of the seeds sown by Jim McGuinness for many years to come.”
The same selection committee will take care of appointing the under-21 manager for 2015 while a separate committee will deal with putting in place the minor manager.
Maxi Curran will let his name go forward for another term in the under-21 position and it is anticipated that Bonner will seek another year in charge of the minors. The closing date for nominations for the minor position has been extended to Friday-week.