Shane Ward with Donegal U-17s. Photo Geraldine Diver
Donegal GAA officials were making no comment today after the shock ‘standing down’ of the county minor (U-17) coach Shane Ward.
Aodh Ruadh clubman Ward was stood down in the wake of Donegal’s big defeat on Saturday evening against Tyrone in Ballybofey. Tyrone won the Ulster Minor Championship quarter-final meeting by 14 points, on a 5-12 to 1-10 scoreline.
News first broke of the coach’s departure on Sunday night when Ward, in a group WhatsApp message to the minor squad, informed them of his departure.
The message read: ”Sorry to let you know I have been stood down from my position.”
He also thanked the players for their efforts and wished them well in the future.
Neither county chairman Mick McGrath or Donegal Youth Board chairman Liam McElhinney wished to comment when contacted by the Democrat/People’s Press.
The Democrat has learned that Mick McGrath and Liam McElhinney only became aware of the departure of the minor coach this (Monday) morning.
Minor manager Gary Duffy did not wish to comment on the departure of the coach other than to thank him for his work with the team and wish him well in the future.
“All I wish to say is that Shane is a first class coach and he brought a lot to the table,” said Gary Duffy.
“We have learned a lot from Shane and I’m sure he has learned from us as well. I wish him all the best in the future,” added the Donegal boss, who also insisted his focus and that of his management team was on the second round qualifier against either Antrim or Monaghan.
AODH RUADH ANGER
There was an angry reaction in the Aodh Ruadh club to the decision. Former Aodh Ruadh Club manager, Maurice McLaughlin, who worked with Ward as club coach, said the decision was scandalous. "Shane is being made a scapegoat and I know I am not alone in being very angry at the way he has been treated."
Ward is a former Aodh Ruadh manager and coach and recently managed the Leitrim senior team.