Rory Gallagher says social media had 'no impact' on his decision to quit Donegal

Gallagher's team suffered a surprisingly heavy defeat against Galawy
Gallagher's team suffered a surprisingly heavy defeat against Galway in the fourth round of the qualifiers

Rory Gallagher has said criticism of him on social media had "no impact" on his decision to resign as Donegal boss.

Gallagher stepped down with two years still left on his contract on Monday - nine days after his side's 4-17 to 0-14 qualifier hammering by Galway.

There has been speculation social media criticism contributed to his departure.

"I have no interest in social media whatsoever. It has no impact on my life or my decision to step away from the senior team," said Gallagher.

The former Donegal manager added that he does not have Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Donegal goalkeeper Mark A McGinley on Twitter
Donegal goalkeeper Mark A McGinley spoke of keyboard warriors getting their way after Gallagher's resignation

Speaking in a statement, Gallagher thanked his own family, the county's players over his seven years of involvement with the squad and the county's GAA officials for their support during his time with Donegal.

Fermanagh native Gallagher served as assistant to previous Jim McGuinness manager from 2011 to 2013 before being appointed boss in 2014.

Gallagher guided Donegal to the Ulster final in both 2015 and 2016 but they lost to Monaghan and Tyrone on both occasions, and went out to bow at the All-Ireland quarter-finals stage later those summers.

With several experienced players retiring over the last two seasons, Gallagher faced the task of building a largely new team in 2017.

Promising performances in the Football League had many pundits tipping Donegal for an extended championship run but the highly-rated side were hammered by Tyrone in the Ulster semi-final in June and the belief and energy seemed to drain from the players following that defeat.

Eamon McGee holds the Sam Maguire Cup aloft in 2012
Eamon McGee said Rory Gallagher was "so important to our All-Ireland win in 2012"

"Only the players and their families, the management and county board officers can appreciate the effort that the 2017 squad made this season," continued Gallagher in his statement.

"We understand fully the road we are on. It is the beginning of a new team. It will continue to need huge levels of commitment over the next number of years.

"To the players who I have coached and managed thanks for your hunger and desire to be better for Donegal. You should be very proud of yourselves.

"It made the training pitch a special place to be. We have had tough days and great days. Along the way we have had lots of fun. Your total support and loyalty throughout the seven years means a lot," concluded Gallagher as he wished Donegal GAA the "very best in the future".

When Donegal won the All-Ireland title in 2012, Gallagher's role was regarded as crucial to the success and while he split with McGuinness' management team a year later, his good relationship with the Donegal players meant he was himself at the helm by late 2014.

Former Donegal player Eamon McGee tweeted on Monday evening that Gallagher had been "so important to our All-Ireland win in 2012".

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