Donegal GAA Chairman: Rory Gallagher owes the county nothing

Sean Dunnion pays tribute to former boss

Tom Comack


Tom Comack


Sean Dunnion

Rory Gallagher with his mentors Maxi Curran and Brendan Kilcoyne, in the dying minutes of Donegal's recent defeat to Galway. Photo: Thomas Gallagher.

Rory Gallagher walks away from the top job owing Donegal football nothing, and the county should be forever grateful for his contribution to football here.
Those are the sentiments of Donegal GAA chairman Sean Dunnion, speaking to the Democrat from his Spanish holiday base on the Mediterranean coast this week.
The chairman said he had worked closely with Rory Gallagher for the best part of the last five years and he was always amazed with Gallagher’s passion and commitment for Donegal football.
“Rory has been with Donegal football for the last seven years, three years as No. 2 to Jim (McGuinness), one with Maxi Curran and the U-21s and the last three years as senior manager.
“I have worked with him for four years and nine months of that time and I have seen at first hand his passion for Donegal GAA,” said the chairman.
“It was a seven days-a-week job with Rory and I often wondered how he balanced his family and business with his involvement with Donegal.
“His passion for Donegal football and commitment to the job cannot be doubted. It was 24/7 for him especially over the last three years since he took on the manager’s job on his own.
“The one thing that struck me was his unbelievable knowledge right around the country, even young players that were coming through in other counties that might not have even played senior football.”
Mr. Dunnion also insisted the players were fully behind Rory and that they were very disappointed now that he was gone.
“He had the utmost respect of the players and his management team and I know that the players were 100% behind him. He also had the support of the county board,” he said.
There has been much criticism about the abusive personal comments of Rory Gallagher on social media following last Saturday week’s heavy defeat at the hands of Galway.
In last week’s Democrat, the chairman condemned those who made those comments and it was learned later in the week that Donegal officials had made official complaints to Facebook.
It later emerged that Facebook had blocked a number of pages, suspended a number of others and had also removed offending posts.
However, in his statement released on Tuesday evening Rory Gallagher made it quite clear that those comments and social media had no influence on his decision to resign.
The chairman said he was delighted that Gallagher’s decision to go was not down to social media.
“It would have been terrible if that had been the case because those comments were not from genuine Donegal supporters,” he added.
“They certainly don’t reflect the view of genuine supporters and what they think of Rory.”

The chairman went on to say that the decision to step down was a difficult one for Rory and one that he did not take lightly.
“I know it was a difficult decision and he gave it a lot of thought but I also know that he is content in himself with the decision.That is important too,” Mr. Dunnion said.
“He walks away owing Donegal football nothing and we wish him and his family well into the future.”
The chairman is on holiday until early next week but said the County Board will begin the process of finding a new manager on his return.