Thursday 21 September 2017

Errigal captain shocked as McGuckin steps down for one-off game

Errigal Ciaran captain Enda McGinley says he is 'shocked and disappointed' by the decision of manager Ronan McGuckin to step down following Sunday's runaway win over Mullahoran in the Ulster Club Football Championship.

McGuckin's departure is understood to be a temporary move -- his decision taken over a conflict of interests, with Errigal due to face his home club Ballinderry in the next round.

Team trainer Tommy McDermott is set to take on the managerial role as the Tyrone champions prepare to meet the Derry giants at Healy Park on November 4.

"I'm disappointed at the course of action he has taken, but he has never hidden the fact that he's a Ballinderry man first and foremost and that has led him to his decision," McGinley said.

"I knew he would be in a difficult position if the two clubs played each other. But I didn't foresee this course of action."

It emerged yesterday that McGuckin had notified Errigal officials at the time of his appointment at the start of this season that he would not be in a position to manage a team against his own club, should the situation arise.

Demolition

However, the players were only made aware of that in the aftermath of Sunday's 4-15 to 1-7 demolition of the Cavan champions at Breffni Park.

McGuckin represented Ballinderry with distinction as a player for many years, winning Ulster and All-Ireland titles with the Shamrocks.

"What I was unaware of was that he did make it clear when he took on the job that this would be the caveat -- if it ever did come to pass that the two clubs would play each other, he wouldn't see himself fit to be involved," McGinley said.

"He is a man of his word. It looked so far away that no comment was ever made on that but, unfortunately, it has now come to pass.

"I suppose it couldn't have been talked about before that, because we still had to win a county championship, we still had to beat Mullahoran and Ballinderry still had to beat Slaughtneil, so there was no point in making us aware this was a potential. So it came as a big surprise, a big blow."

McGinley conceded that McGuckin's absence will make Errigal's task significantly more difficult as they prepare to meet one of the most successful clubs in the history of the Ulster Club Championship.

"Ronan McGuckin's ability as a manager has had a huge amount to do with what we have achieved this year so far," he said. "Being without him, and being without an experienced manager going into this game, is going to make it exceptionally difficult for us."

Irish Independent

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