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O’Kane defends manner of Gallagher Derry appointment

GERARD O’Kane says that the Derry County board need to learn from the controversy surrounding Rory Gallagher’s appointment as senior boss – but adds that the days of the club dictating the process are over.

Clubs in Derry are understood to have been unhappy that Rory Gallagher was effectively head-hunted by the county board, but the former Donegal and Fermanagh boss was ratified nonetheless at a meeting on Monday night.

Three other candidates for the role pulled out after it emerged that Derry officials had met with Gallagher, and O’Kane hopes that lessons will be learnt from the drama.

I think there’s more consternation about how he was selected. To be honest I don’t see why the county board are being lambasted for head-hunting someone when every other county in Ireland does it.

I understand it hasn’t been to everyone’s liking but the days of letting the clubs pick a manager are gone.

Members of the county board are club people as well, and I think they should see what they’ve done right and what they’ve done wrong.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with head-hunting a manager – years ago they had the chance to get one of the McEntees and O’Mahony and they didn’t manage it and were criticised as a result.”

Gallagher has brought with him Derry legend Enda Muldoon and higly rated coach Ciaran Meenagh, who was part of the set-up this season as well. O’Kane says it’s a solid enough line-up.

Derry have got a manager with a decent track record, and Enda’s always shown an ambition to coach. I remember when he was playing with Derry, he missed a McKenna Cup match because he was coaching Ballinderry U20s. That was years ago and he’s achieved a lot since.

I’ve never worked with Ciaran Meenagh but I know him socially through sport, and anyone who has worked with him has been very impressed. On a purely footballing basis, they seem like they have a good management team.”

Gallagher had a two-year stint at Fermanagh, during which the county came in for some consider flak for their perceived defensiveness. O’Kane is hopeful that Derry will play attacking football under their new manager.

I think from what I hear on the ground, he’s said he’ll not be as defensive. and hopefully he’s not just saying that to get the job.

Derry might be the perfect team for him to change his reputation because we have some talented footballers to try it with and playing in division three might give him a bit more breathing space.

He might see Derry as a way to shake that tag.”

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