Rory Gallagher is expected to be officially unveiled as the new Derry senior manager tonight (Tuesday).
The former Fermanagh and Donegal manager is the lone candidate for the post vacated by Damian McErlain since Johnny McBride and Mickey Donnelly last week indicated they would be withdrawing from the selection process.
The Derry County Board will meet this evening in Owenbeg to officially ratify Gallagher on what is expected to be the same three year term as his predecessor received with Enda Muldoon and former Tyrone player Ciaran Meenagh, who worked in McErlain’s backroom team last season, likely to be among his back-room team.
Former Fermanagh forward Gallagher won an All-Ireland as Jim McGuinness’ assistant with Donegal in 2012 before taking sole charge in 2015 and guiding the Tir Chonaill to two Ulster finals. He also guided an unfancied Fermanagh side to promotion to Division Two and the 2018 Ulster decider.
Gallagher’s style of play, however, has come in for criticism for being overly negative but the presence of Oak Leaf Muldoon among his coaching team would suggest a more expansive approach than many are expecting.
With a succession of Ulster winning minor and Under 20 teams coming through and attacking talent such as Shane McGuigan and Ben McCarron to call upon, Gallagher will be charged with building on a positive league campaign last season with promotion from a very competitive Division Three one of the county’s main priorities.
If ratified, Gallagher will become only the second ever ‘outside’ appointment to the Derry senior post, the first being former Dublin boss Brian Mullins who was the last manager to guide the Oak Leafers to an Ulster Championship in 1998.