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Saturday 25 November 2017

Merry-go-round begins early for manager-less few

Offaly manager Pat Flanagan
Offaly manager Pat Flanagan

Four counties are already seeking new senior football managers, with Offaly and Derry now joining Wicklow and Louth on the hunt.

Yesterday, Offaly announced on their official county board website that Pat Flanagan and his backroom team would not be re-appointed for 2018.

Flanagan, who previously managed Westmeath and Sligo, has been in charge of Offaly since October 2014.

They were promoted from Division 4 in his first season at the helm but have been mired in Division 3 ever since and suffered an 11-point loss to Westmeath after a replay in Leinster this year before eventually exiting the Championship at home to Cavan in a four-point defeat.

In March, Flanagan faced calls from several clubs for his removal after a 30-point defeat to Armagh in Division 3 of the League, Offaly's heaviest loss in any competition since losing by 6-14 to 0-1 to Louth in the 1900 Leinster SFC.

Swift

Derry, meanwhile, made the swift announcement that they would not be renewing Damian Barton's tenure just three days on from their All-Ireland SFC exit to Mayo in Castlebar.

"In September 2015, Damian Barton was ratified by Coiste Chontae Dhoire as Derry senior football manager for an agreed period of two years," a statement on their website read.

Already, Wicklow and Louth are embroiled in similar searches after Johnny Magee and Colin Kelly both stepped aside from their respective roles last month.

Speculation in Fermanaghm meanwhile, suggests that Pete McGrath will seek another year in charge despite a disappointing season for the Ernesiders.

The former Down All-Ireland winning boss has hinted he intends to remain at the helm.

Elswhere, Seán Armstrong has been left out of the Galway team to face Roscommon this Sunday in the Connacht SFC final.

Armstrong, who returned to the Galway panel this season after a two-year absence, kicked six points - all placed balls - in the Tribesmen's semi-final victory over Mayo but is not included in the side announced by manager Kevin Walsh.

Instead, Eoin Brannigan starts at corner-forward while Eoghan Kerin will wear the number four jersey in place of David Wynne.

GALWAY (SF v Roscommon): R Lavelle; C Sweeney, D Kyne, E Kerin; G O'Donnell, G Bradshaw, L Silke; F Ó Curraoin, P Conroy; T Flynn, M Daly, J Heaney; E Brannigan, D Comer, S Walsh.

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