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Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 12:55 UK

McHugh rules out Donegal position

Martin McHugh
McHugh works as a GAA pundit for BBC Northern Ireland

Martin McHugh has ruled out any prospect of him succeeding Brian McIver as Donegal football manager.

The county require a new boss following McIver's decision to step down after two prominent Donegal clubs refused to give backing to the Tyrone man.

"I don't have the time. I have had three hip operations this year and I need to focus on my business after the year I've had," McHugh told BBC Sport.

Charlie Mulgrew and John Joe Doherty are already being linked with the job.

Mulgrew will have support in the county after his largely successful four-year reign in Fermanagh.

The St Eunan's club-man guided the Erne County to the All-Ireland semi-finals in his first year in charge in 2004 when they were edged out by Mayo after a replay.

There is speculation that Doherty could form a management team with another of Donegal's 1992 All-Ireland winning squad Tony Boyle.


During his relatively short managerial career, Glencolmcille man Doherty has guided Donegal outfit Naomh Mhura to the county junior title and he is already regarded as an astute reader of the game and a strict disciplinarian.

Meanwhile, more details have been emerging about the circumstances of McIver's departure following a county board meeting on Monday evening.

McIver was keen to stay on in the role but the opposition of prominent clubs St Eunan's and Gweedore gave the Tyrone man little option but to step down.

The Ardboe native said he had stepped down after effectively being presented with a "vote of no confidence" with St Eunan's and Gweedore leading the opposition.

A statement from McIver thanked the Donegal players and the county board for their efforts during his three-year reign.

He also insisted that he has "retired" from intercounty management, which appears to rule him out of contention for the vacant Derry job.

McIver thanked his back-room staff and paid particular mention to the work of highly-regarded team trainer Ryan Porter.

In most counties if you had the support of the county board and players you would feel you could achieve your goals
Brian McIver

"He (Ryan Porter) is a top class trainer and coach and I wish him and the members of management and backroom team all the best for the future," said McIver.

"I would like to thank the Donegal county board and members of Club Donegal for their support.

"I found county treasurer Charlie Cannon and ex-county secretary Crona Regan excellent to work with and I had a very good working relationship with the two county chairmen Sean Kelly and Charlie O'Donnell.

"I would also like to thank the players that I have worked with during my time as manager.

"During the last season in particular they have shown great commitment and dedication and, I wish them the very best for the future.

"In most counties if you had the support of the county board and players you would feel you could achieve your goals.

Donegal manager Brian McIver
Brian McIver had indicated he would remain as manager

"But obviously not in Donegal when two of the more senior clubs namely St Eunan's and Gaoth Dobhair, who between them contribute a total of nine players to the county panel, feel they could not give their support, I felt I had no option but to resign."

McIver added that he has "no desire to manage any other county" and that he "couldn't work against" the Donegal players.

He concluded his statement with a sideswipe against "certain members of the media in Donegal".

"There is a lot I would like to say, but its not in my nature to snipe."

The Ardboe man was appointed to the Donegal job in September 2005 and his side reached the Ulster Final in 2006 where they were narrowly beaten by Armagh.

McIver's side appeared to be making major progress last year when they landed the county's first ever National League title.

However, after a fortunate opening Ulster SFC victory over Armagh, their championship season ended in disappointment after heavy defeats by Tyrone and Monaghan.

This year, Donegal produced decent displays against Derry and Monaghan but they came up just short in both games and again made an early championship exit.

see also
McIver resigns as Donegal manager
02 Sep 08 |  Gaelic Games
McIver stays on as Donegal boss
07 Aug 08 |  Gaelic Games

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