SPORTS COLUMN

Can Donegal afford an outside manager?

THE SPORTING DIARY with Sports Editor, Peter Campbell

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

Can Donegal afford an outside manager?

Can Donegal afford an outside manager?

That is the question that has arisen in recent weeks since the departure of Rory Gallagher as Donegal manager and the search has begun for his replacement.

A number of prominent names from outside Donegal have been mentioned - among them the likes of James Horan, Peter McGrath, Seamus McEnaney, Oisin McConville, Tony McEntee and Cathal Corey.

However, the biggest single factor for Donegal in bringing in a manager from outside would be cost. Let’s not beat around the bush, who in their right mind would take on the role of a county senior team manager nowadays without being compensated - and I’m not talking about 50 cent a mile. To make it worth their while on mileage, any prospective candidate would have to be racking up 2,000 miles per week to make it feasible. When you consider that there are coaches getting close to that in some clubs then why would you take on the responsibility (and abuse) of a senior county team without getting some reward?

Getting back to the question at the top of the article, we would need to know how the finances are in Donegal. Over the years the books have been balanced very well each year, but I’m sure it doesn’t get any easier with demands rising from all quarters, not just the senior team.

Any manager coming into the Donegal post at present would be looking for a back-up team that could number anything up to 20 people and over. Such is the way preparation of county teams, especially senior, have gone. All of that costs money.

And while Donegal have done fairly well with sponsors over the years, there is a need to finish the development work at the Training Centre in Convoy as an added burden. While Donegal have had success on the field over the last six years, has the success been capitalised on off the field?

And what about the race to succeed Rory Gallagher?

Would it not have been better to release all the names nominated after the deadline at 6 p.m. on Saturday last? Wouldn’t that be better than having people speculating about who was or who wasn’t nominated?

All the Co. Board had to do was release the names; say they were going to contact each one of them to find out their intentions and then present the names still in the race when that was done. That would make the process transparent, which is important to those supporters who pay their money at the gate, for lottos, fund-raisers, etc.

With the club championship in full progress last weekend, the main topic of conversation was around the appointment of the team manager. Everyone has their opinion, which is great, and the GAA officers should be happy that the profile of the job has generated such interest.

By keeping everything in-house up to now is okay, but it is a very important decision. Donegal’s record in arriving at a decision in the past has some history. Let’s hope we can get this done without any major blip.

Dubs in Dreamland

Joyce McMullin summed it up for me on Tuesday morning in the office. “If you had the pick of all the players in the rest of Ireland, would you pick a team to beat them?”

It’s a very good question. After Saturday’s semi-final replay when Mayo steamrolled Kerry, we were very hopeful that whoever won on Sunday would have a stern test in the All-Ireland final.

Then Dublin come out and give a performance that was just precision, and we wondered if Mayo could even give them a game. Hopefully, they will give them a better contest that Tyrone did on Sunday. When you consider that Tyrone hammered us by 11 points, and they get annihilated by 12 on Sunday, we have plenty to ponder. I say that just in case anyone wants to poke fun at any Tyrone supporter. I called in to see Liam Gallen on Monday to sympathise with him, but he was ‘on annual leave’ until Wednesday. It isn’t easy, but Donegal have been there too and you just have to get up and get on with it.

My thoughts are more with Andy Moran, Colm Boyle and Keith Higgins, three of the best players to play the game over the last 10/15 years. How many All-Ireland finals or semi-finals do you have to lose before you get Sam Maguire?

Magnificent Mona

It surely is one of the greatest sporting achievements of the year. The number of world titles won by Irish athletes are few and far between, but Mona McSharry, a 17-year-old student at Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon, returns home this weekend from the World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis with gold and bronze medals in the 100m and 50m breaststroke.

She is the star of Irish swimming and a certainty for the Olympics in Japan in 2020 and don’t rule out success there too!

Well done to all involved - Mona and her coaches at Marlins Swimming Club, Ballyshannon.