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The 15 new intercounty Gaelic football managers for 2015

Who’s ready for the new season?

Frank Fitzsimons (Antrim)

With Liam Bradley having made a quick exit, Frank Fitzsimons takes up the reins. The Lámh Dhearg clubman was part of Bradley’s backroom team and was also in charge of the Saffrons’ U21 side.

Kieran McGeeney (Armagh)

Kieran McGeeney Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Paul Grimley’s addition of McGeeney as his assistant for 2014 pointed to a succession strategy and so it has proved. The Orchard County put up a good showing in the qualifiers this year – aided by a siege mentality – and the former Kildare boss, who captained Armagh to the 2002 All-Ireland, will seek to build on that progress.

Turlough O’Brien (Carlow)

Anthony Rainbow has departed after two years in charge of the Dolmen County and his former coach Turlough O’Brien succeeds him. O’Brien is a member of Éire Óg and has previously been in charge of the county Minor and U21 sides. Former Galway, Leitrim and Mayo manager John O’Mahony will act as an advisor.

Rory Gallagher (Donegal)

Rory Gallagher and Jim McGuinness Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

As in Armagh, a former assistant manager has taken over, though Fermanagh native Gallagher had a hiatus in between helping Jim McGuinness and then taking over from him. Gallagher played for his native county and Cavan and, after resigning as a senior selector in 2013, was part of the Donegal U21 set-up as well as managing club side Kilcar.

Jim McCorry (Down)

After five seasons, James McCartan stood down as manager and his replacement Jim McCorry was announced in September. In 2013, McCorry led Kilcoo to the Down SFC title and they beat Crossmaglen in the Ulster championship. Michael Walsh and John Treanor will be his selectors.

Kevin Walsh (Galway)

Kevin Walsh Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Despite being 45, Walsh celebrated his appointment by helping club Killanin to the county IFC title as a player, though it’s unlikely he’ll pick himself for the Tribesmen as he takes over from Alan Mulholland. The three-time All-Star winner managed Sligo from 2009 until their exit from the 2013 championship. He also led the Yeats County’s junior side to an All-Ireland title.

Shane Ward (Leitrim)

Winning silverware with Leitrim – that’s his goal. The Ballyshannon native will also stay in charge of the county U21s, having guided them to a first Connacht championship win in 16 years, beating All-Ireland champions Galway. Seán Hagan was Ward’s predecessor.

Colin Kelly (Louth)

Kelly, who played for Newtown Blues and Dreadnots during his playing career, was a member of the Louth senior side for more than a decade. His work in charge of the Wee County’s U21s – taking them to the 2012 Leinster final – advanced his candidature to take over from Aidan O’Rourke.

Noel Connelly/Pat Holmes (Mayo)

Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes 7/5/2006 Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

James Horan has left his post, having taken Mayo as close as possible to an All-Ireland title without winning it. The manner of the appointment of Connelly and Holmes ahead of Kevin McStay and Liam MacHale didn’t please everyone, but the pair have a good track record in having led the county to the 2006 U21 All-Ireland. Holmes was also manager from 2000-02.

Pat Flanagan (Offaly)

Flanagan, a native of Clara, has been appointed manager of his home county, replacing Emmett McDonnell. He took Westmeath to Division 1 before being ousted at the end of 2013, upon which he took over Sligo. Wins against Wicklow and Limerick brought them to the last 12 of the All-Ireland, where Cork beat them.

Niall Carew (Sligo)

Niall Carew Source: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

Flanagan’s replacement with Sligo is Niall Carew. The Kildare man was a coach for his native county under Kieran McGeeney and then struck out on his own, managing Waterford for the past two campaigns. Carew, who will manage the U21s too, will have former Kildare player Ronan Sweeney in his set-up.

Tom McGlinchey (Waterford)

It’s lucky that Offaly, Sligo and Waterford are in that order alphabetically, as it allows us to seamlessly move on and say that Carew has been replaced in the Déise county by Tom McGlinchey. A Cork native, he managed Tipperary over a decade ago and led Ballylanders to a Limerick SFC title while also managing the Shannonsiders’ minor and U21 teams.

David Power (Wexford)

At 31, Tipperary man Power is the youngest intercounty manager in the country, but his tender age doesn’t equate to a lack of experience. In 2011, he led Tipp to the minor All-Ireland and made it back-to-back Munsters a year later, the first time the county had done that since 1935. He succeeds Aidan O’Brien.

Johnny Magee (Wicklow)

Johnny Magee Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Former Dublin footballer Magee was part of Harry Murphy’s backroom team last year and has been chosen to make the step up in the wake of his departure. He will have assistance from two other Dubs, brother Darren and Ray Cosgrove.

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About the author:

Denis Hurley

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