Donegal begin search for successor to Jim McGuinness

Jim McGuinness steered Donegal to the 2014 All-Ireland football final
Jim McGuinness guided Donegal to a stunning victory over Dublin in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final

Donegal have begun the process of finding a successor to Jim McGuinness with the closing date for nominations and applications 17 October.

Monday night's county board meeting approved the setting up of a five-person selection committee to conduct the search for a new football manager.

County chairman Sean Dunnion, secretary Aodh Mairtin O Fearraigh and treasurer Cieran Kelly will be on the committee.

The committee will have the option of contacting suitable candidates.

In addition, the county's clubs will be invited to send nominations while interested candidates will also the option of contacting the county secretary O Fearraigh.

After the closing date on 17 October, the selection committee will bring forwards its decision to be approved by the county committee.

Declan Bonner after guiding Donegal to this year's All-Ireland Minor Final
Declan Bonner has not ruled himself out as a possible candidate to succeed Jim McGuinness

The three county officials will be joined on the selection committee by one other member of the county board's management official and "one person deemed qualified outside of the county management committee".

The full composition of the selection committee will be further discussed at a county board meeting on Thursday when further talks on the appointment of the senior and under-21 managers will also take place.

With James Horan ruling himself out of contention for the job in an interview with the Irish News, McGuinness's former assistant Rory Gallagher remains the favourite with most bookies to land the job.

Current Kilcar club manager Gallagher has a close relationship with Donegal great Martin McHugh and there has been speculation that they could form a joint-managerial ticket.

For his part, McHugh has yet to make any comment on whether he is interested in becoming the new manager although he did say in his Irish Daily Star column that McGuinness would be "an impossible act to follow".

"It's a bit like David Moyes coming in after Alex Ferguson - you're nearly better coming in after the guy who replaces him," said McHugh.

Declan Bonner also remains high in the betting after he was non-committal in a BBC Radio Foyle interview about a possible return to the Donegal top job.

Bonner guided Donegal to the Ulster Final in 1998 when they were narrowly beaten by Derry.

Damien Diver, who was one of McGuinness's assistants this season, is also being mentioned as a possible candidate though he is likely to be viewed as an outside bet.

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