Rory Gallagher installed as early favourite for shock Derry return after Mickey Harte's departure

Rory Gallagher has been installed as the odds-on favourite to return as Derry senior manager in the wake of Mickey Harte's departure
-Credit: (Image: ©INPHO/Ben Brady)


Bookmakers have made Rory Gallagher the odds-on favourite to make a shock return as Derry senior football manager following the departure of Mickey Harte.

The former Tyrone boss stepped down after just one year in charge of the Oak Leafers on Monday following a hugely disappointing Championship campaign.

Harte, who won three All-Ireland titles with Tyrone in the noughties, succeeded Ciaran Meenagh as Derry boss in September after spending three seasons with Louth.

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He led Derry to early-season success, winning the Dr McKenna Cup and the Division One title.

However, they were ousted as Ulster champions following a first round defeat to Donegal and further Championship losses to Galway and Armagh led to speculation about his future ahead of their round three win over Westmeath.

A penalty shootout win over Mayo saw Derry qualify for the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final, but a 0-15 to 0-10 loss to Kerry at Croke Park last month proved to be Harte’s final game in charge.

The Errigal Ciaran clubman took over from interim boss Meenagh, who in turn was appointed to the role after Gallagher had stepped down from the role prior to the 2023 Ulster final.

Gallagher had his temporary suspension from the GAA lifted in February of this year following a successful appeal to the DRA after he was “temporarily debarred” from the association until an investigation into domestic abuse allegations by his estranged wife Nicola had been concluded. Gallagher has always denied the allegations made against him.

He is now the 1/5 favourite to take over the reins once more according to Boylesports.

Malachy O’Rourke, who was approached by the Derry county board last year before agreeing to stay with Glen, is the second favourite while the aforementioned Meenagh, who is part of Conor Laverty’s Down management team, is next in the betting at 10/1.

Cargin boss and Ballinderry native Ronan Devlin is also 10/1 while his clubmate and current Armagh coach Conleith Gilligan is 14/1.

Having led Derry minors to back-to-back All-Ireland titles, Damian McErlain is a 20/1 shot to return as senior boss while Joe Brolly, who has been an outspoken critic of Harte’s appointment to the Derry role, is a 100/1 outsider along with Tyrone legends Peter Canavan and Owen Mulligan.

Next permanent Derry manager odds: Rory Gallagher 1/5; Malachy O’Rourke 6/1; Ciaran Meenagh 10/1; Ronan Devlin 10/1; Enda Muldoon 12/1, Barry Dillon 12/1; Conleith Gilligan 14/1, Johnny McBride 14/1. 16/1 BAR.

  • Odds courtesy of Boylesports and are correct at the time of publication

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