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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 19 September 2020

Derry on hunt for new manager after McErlain steps down due to 'personal circumstances'

The Derry county board “reluctantly accepted” McErlain’s resignation.

Damian McErlain has stepped down as Derry boss.
Damian McErlain has stepped down as Derry boss.
Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

DERRY ARE ON the look-out for a new manager after Damien McErlain confirmed his departure as senior football boss.

McErlain, who had just completed the second season of his three-year term, put his decision was down to “personal circumstances” in a statement released this afternoon.

Derry GAA confirmed they “reluctantly accepted his resignation” and now begin the search for his replacement.

He led the Oak Leafers to promotion from Division 4 and they defeated Leitrim in the final at Croke Park. In May they ran Tyrone close in the opening round of the Ulster SFC, before their campaign ended with a four-point loss to Laois in the qualifiers.

Before taking the senior job he guided the minors to the 2017 All-Ireland minor final.

“After speaking with Damian McErlain, Derry GAA confirms that we have reluctantly accepted his resignation as Derry senior football manager,” said an official Derry statement.

“We would like to sincerely thank Damian, his management and backroom teams, and all our players for their efforts over the past two years.

“Damian has been involved with Derry minor and senior football teams for the past five years and has been a central figure in helping to develop a new generation of Derry footballers.

“We would like wish Damian, his wife Sinead and family every health and happiness going forward.

“The process of appointing a new senior football management will commence over the coming days and weeks.”

Damian McErlain arrives McErlain arrives ahead of the 2018 Ulster clash against Donegal. Source: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

McErlain’s full statement on his resignation read: “I have decided to step down as Derry senior manager after my two years in charge.

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“The rationale is very much based on personal circumstances and it’s with disappointment that I won’t be finishing my three-year term.

“After five years in total in Owenbeg it’s been a big shift with some great memories and challenges in equal measure, but I now have to focus on prioritising myself and my family.

“I’d like to thank first and foremost my wife Sinead who made as many sacrifices for me to carry out the job as I did and supported me through the highs and lows – for that I am forever grateful.

“Then of course all the members of the management teams I’ve had over the five years in Owenbeg whose efforts, knowledge and integrity knew no bounds to try and bring success and progress to Derry at both minor and senior level.

“We enjoyed the sort of team-ship that is required to bring success at any level and it’s imperative to acknowledge their huge contribution.

“Derry made good progress in 2019 after a difficult 2018 and it’s vital now that the players capitalise on this and demonstrate the sort of persistence that will be required to reach the levels needed. I wish all the players well in what is a privileged position in representing this county at senior level.

“Underage football in Derry has been strong these last number of years but senior inter-county is a different animal and again these players coming through have to have the desire to persist in developing themselves and their game over a number of years if they want to succeed in driving Derry onwards.

“They also need the continued support of their clubs and the patience of supporters to allow this to flourish.

“Finally I’d like to thank Club Derry and the sponsors of our teams over the five years who make it all possible, the Derry board and Brian McIver for his support during that time.

“I am extremely proud to have managed my county at both minor and senior level but for now it’s time to move on.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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