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Rory Gallagher steps back as manager of Derry senior footballers

Statement released on the eve of the Ulster Final

Rory Gallagher has stepped down as Derry senior football manager

Conor McKeon

Rory Gallagher has announced that he is “stepping back” from his role as Derry senior manager, less than 48 hours before the Ulster final.

Derry GAA have confirmed that Ciarán Meenagh will assume the role as Gallagher’s replacement ahead of Sunday’s Ulster SFC final clash with Armagh.

After a week in which he faced accusations of domestic abuse from his estranged wife, Gallagher has taken the step to stand aside in the middle of the inter-county season.

The statement, issued through the Derry county board reads: “I have advised Derry GAA that I am stepping back as Derry Senior football Manager with immediate effect.

“This decision is borne out of a desire to protect my children from the ongoing turmoil. They will always be my priority.”

A paragraph attributed to Derry GAA reveals that Ciarán Meenagh, Gallagher’s assistant since taking over in 2019, will assume the role of Derry senior football manager.

On Thursday, Gallagher issued a statement in response to what he described as "very serious" allegations made by his estranged wife.

In a message on social media earlier this week, Nicola Gallagher detailed a number of alleged incidents of domestic violence.

In a statement issued through a solicitor, Mr Gallagher acknowledged his estranged wife’s social media post and the fact it made “very serious allegations against me”.

He said: “Our marriage broke down over four years ago. Those closest to our family are well aware of the reasons for the breakdown of our marriage and the continued issues we have faced since that time.”

Gallagher insisted the allegations “have been investigated and dealt with by the relevant authorities”.

Having taken over as Derry manager in 2019, he led them to a first Ulster title since 1998 last year. Gallagher also steered the county to three promotions in four years, taking Derry from Division 4 to promotion to Division 1.

Meenagh has been part of Gallagher’s setup since he took over. A native of Tyrone, he won All-Ireland titles at minor and Under-21 level.

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