Rory Gallagher (Gaelic footballer)

Rory Gallagher (born 22 August 1978) is a Gaelic football manager and former player.

Rory Gallagher
Personal information
Sport Gaelic football
Position Full Forward
Born (1978-08-22) 22 August 1978 (age 43)
Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Occupation Retail manager (former);
Employee of
construction recruitment firm[1]
Years Club
Erne Gaels
St Brigid's
St Gall's
Club titles
Fermanagh titles 2 (1 Dublin, 1 Antrim)
Ulster titles 2 (1 Dublin, 1 Antrim)
All-Ireland Titles 1 (St Gall's)
Years County

Gallagher played for the Fermanagh and Cavan county teams, as well as several club teams, including his home club Erne Gaels,[2] as well as Dublin side St Brigid's and Antrim's St Gall's. He was a selector for the Donegal county team during their 2012 Championship success, acting as number two to Jim McGuinness. He left the Donegal panel after the 2013 championship but later returned as Jim McGuinness's successor in October 2014, when McGuinness departed following the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. With John McNulty, he was joint manager of the Cill Chartha club in 2014 during his time away from the county panel.

Playing careerEdit

He had trials with English professional association football clubs Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.[3]

He broke his leg in October 1993.[2]

He is a cousin of fellow Fermanagh footballer Raymond Gallagher.[4]


Gallagher won the Antrim Senior Football Championship and the Ulster Senior Club Football Championship with St Gall's in 2009 and added the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship in 2010. He won the Dublin Senior Football Championship and the Leinster Senior Club Football Championship with St Brigid's in 2003.


Gallagher played for both Fermanagh and Cavan.[5]

Gallagher was top scorer in the Ulster Senior Football Championship for three consecutive years: in 2000 (1-19), 2001 (0-16) and 2002 (4-12).[3] In 2002, he scored 3-09 in an Ulster Senior Football Championship game against Monaghan. This equalled the record for the highest individual scorer in any championship football match set by Dublin's Johnny Joyce in 1960; Gallagher and Joyce held the joint record for eighteen years until Cillian O'Connor's four goals (accompanied by nine points) in the 2020 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final at Croke Park broke it.[6][7]

He left the Fermanagh panel in 2002.[8] but briefly returned to the Fermanagh setup in 2010.[5][9] Gallagher was unimpressed with the appointment of John O'Neill as county manager.[10]

Managerial careerEdit

Selector: DonegalEdit

In 2011, Gallagher joined the Donegal senior football team as a selector.[5] As soon as he joined he knew all the players' names. Jim McGuinness had originally recruited Peter McGinley but he had work commitments and spoke of Gallagher as an impressive coach.[11] Martin McHugh also thinks highly of him. McGuinness decided to call upon Gallagher.[12] Since his arrival McGuinness's team have twice won Ulster and in 2012 they got their hands on Sam the man himself. This led the people of Donegal to look upon Gallagher with awe and reverence and as a kind of demi-god to Jim's Messiah, though this was not in evidence when McGuinness departed and Gallagher took over.[13]

He resigned as a selector in 2013.[14] He was then linked with the vacant Fermanagh and Antrim jobs but settled instead for Donegal Under-21s assistant manager under Maxi Curran.[15][16] After his departure from the Donegal senior team, fellow McGuinness underling Curran, who also sacrificed himself, said: "I think that Rory made an enormous contribution to Donegal's success as a tactician, coach, motivator and diplomat. He did not spare himself in bringing Donegal right up to the top [...] I cannot speak highly enough of him and I consider it an honour and a privilege to have worked alongside him. He will undoubtedly be a massive asset to any club or county side fortunate enough to engage his services."[17]

After Gallagher left the Donegal panel in 2013, he became joint manager of Cill Chartha with John McNulty.

Manager: DonegalEdit

After the departure of Jim McGuinness. Gallagher and former Mayo manager James Horan were rumoured as the most likely replacements until Horan announced he was not interested in the job. This left Gallagher as the most likely candidate. Gallagher was appointed the new manager of the Donegal senior football team in October 2014.

Gallagher made his competitive managerial debut for Donegal in the National Football League Division 1 win against Derry with a score of 1-15 0-12. His second game ended in a defeat against Dublin losing 2-10 0-11. His third game ended with a marginal win against Cork with a scoreline of 0-12 1-08. Donegal's next meeting came against Monaghan resulting in a defeat of 1-04 0-09. Another win followed against Tyrone in a 1-13 0-06 scoreline. In the final round Donegal drew with Mayo 0-12 1-09 but made it through to the semi final on points difference but lost to Cork in a scoreline of 4-11 0-19.

Gallagher's Championship debut soon followed, with Donegal meeting Tyrone in the preliminary round with the winner facing Armagh. Donegal overcame Tyrone in Ballybofey with a win of 1-13 1-10. Donegal later faced Kieran McGeeney's Armagh in what was expected to be a tough match following the previous year's meeting in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final where Donegal snatched a victory 2 minutes from time winning by a point in a tense game that was going either way. However, it was not the case this time as Gallagher's men eased their way to victory with a 0-08 2-11 win, allowing Donegal to progress to the semi-final to meet Derry, whom they beat 0-10 1-09 in Clones to make Gallagher's first Ulster SFC final as manager and Donegal's fifth successive final, which resulted in a narrow defeat to Monaghan by a score line of 0-11 0-10. Thus, Gallagher's first season lost Donegal their Ulster crown.

As a result of Donegal losing in the Ulster SFC final, Gallagher's men met Galway on 1 August 2015 at Croke Park in the last round of the All-Ireland Qualifiers. Donegal defeated Galway in a scoreline of 3-12 0-11 setting up a meeting with Connacht Champions Mayo in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final, which resulted in defeat for Donegal by a 2-13 0-11 scoreline bringing an end to their 2015 Championship campaign.

More mediocrity followed in 2016. Two injury time points in the Ulster SFC final handed Tyrone their first provincial title since 2010. Leinster and All-Ireland champions Dublin were the opponents in the All-Ireland quarter-final. Dublin avenged their famous defeat in the 2014 semi-final (achieved by McGuinness after Gallagher's departure from his backroom team).

A 2017 Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final capitulation to Tyrone and 2017 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship exit to Galway at Markievicz Park achieved a new low for a decade that had started so well and Gallagher was gone.[18][19][20][21]

Gallagher stepped down as Donegal senior football manager on 31 July 2017.[22][23]


Gallagher was appointed senior manager of the Fermanagh county team on 11 September 2017. He could only bring them as far as the 2018 Ulster Senior Football Championship final against his former side, Donegal. Despite his background knowledge of the Donegal team, Donegal strolled to victory with ease. Eight points down by the 31st minute of the first half, Fermanagh had to deploy a hastily cobbled together Plan B, but to little effect, though they made it to half-time with just the eight-point difference. A disallowed second-half Donegal goal for a square ball infringement had little effect as Donegal ran out winners by a double score.[24]

Gallagher left Fermanagh in 2019.[citation needed]


Gallagher was soon appointed senior manager of the Derry county team, with the board at the time praising him as a "top rank professional manager". It is unclear how much he is being paid (at least one member of the successor board dreads the prospect of even asking) but as part of the deal he was given a BMW 5 Series executive car to drive back and forth. [25]

Under Gallagher, Derry won the 2022 Ulster Senior Football Championship against his former team Donegal in extra time 1:14 to 1:16.[26]

Personal lifeEdit

As of 2021, he was an employee of construction recruitment firm, 3D Personnel, based between their Dublin and Belfast offices.[1]


  1. ^ a b "What happened after two Donegal lads left secure jobs?". Donegal News. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2021. Former Donegal manager Rory Gallagher, now the Derry boss, works between their Belfast and Dublin offices while 2012 All-Ireland winners Paul Durcan and Patrick McBrearty are also former employees.
  2. ^ a b "Gallagher Rory". 12 April 1996. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b Foley, Alan (25 June 2015). "Hugh McFadden takes scenic route to Donegal set-up". Irish Examiner. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  4. ^ Keys, Colm (19 May 2004). "Gallaghers rejoin Fermanagh squad". Irish Independent.
  5. ^ a b c "Rory Gallagher becomes Donegal selector". BBC Sport. BBC. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Cillian O'Connor the record-breaker as Tipperary fairytale ends". Joe. 6 December 2020.
  7. ^ "O'Connor breaks All-Ireland scoring record with 4-9". Hogan Stand. 6 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Corrigan on life after Rory". BBC Sport. BBC. 15 April 2003. Retrieved 15 April 2003.
  9. ^ "Gallaghers make Fermanagh return". BBC Sport. BBC. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Gallagher silence says it all for Fermanagh". Evening Herald. Independent News & Media. 21 September 2012. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2012. Question: "Had you already decided to pack it in with Fermanagh when Jim got in touch with you?" Rory Gallagher: "Once they gave John O'Neill the management job, that finished me with Fermanagh. There is no doubt about that." Question: "You obviously don't rate him very highly?" Rory Gallagher: "No."
  11. ^ Shannon, Kieran (25 June 2011). "A taste for success". Irish Examiner. Thomas Crosbie Holdings. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Gallagher answering McGuinness' call". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012. Now, they talk on the phone at least an hour a day and spent countless hours on that same field, coaching and exhorting the players into becoming genuine All-Ireland contenders and devising a style of play that has become nationally known as "the system".
  13. ^ "Donegal can handle the hype, claims county selector Rory Gallagher". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Backroom trio quit Donegal management teamr". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  15. ^ Bogue, Declan (18 September 2013). "Gallagher tipped for Fermanagh after Donegal exit". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  16. ^ Keane, David (23 October 2013). "Curran & Gallagher Reunited for Donegal U21s". Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  17. ^ Campbell, John (26 September 2013). "Curran remains committed to Donegal cause". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Rory Gallagher resigns as Donegal senior football manager". BBC Sport. 31 July 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  19. ^ "The pendulum has swung decisively in Tyrone's favour in the battle of Ulster's giants following a runaway win at Clones". Irish Examiner. 18 June 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  20. ^ Small, Daragh (22 July 2017). "Round 4A Qualifier: Impressive Galway advance". Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  21. ^ Lawlor, Damian (4 October 2017). "Declan Bonner promises change in efforts to bring glory days back to Donegal". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 4 October 2017. Last June, in the aftermath of Donegal's miserable capitulation in the Ulster SFC semi-final, a group of Tyrone players chatted in the dressing room, their opinions unified by the shock of what had just happened. The issue wasn't that they had won, but how easy it had been.
  22. ^ "Rory Gallagher quits as Donegal manager following championship exit". Irish Independent. 31 July 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  23. ^ "'Thanks and appreciation' for Gallagher but who will be the Donegal manager in 2018?". The 42. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  24. ^ Mooney, Francis (24 June 2018). "Energetic Donegal end Fermanagh's Ulster title dream". RTÉ Sport. Retrieved 24 June 2018. This was the sort of scenario that Fermanagh's carefully constructed plan was not calibrated to deal with, and they were forced to improvise as a shaky Plan B was called for.
  25. ^ "The possibility of not entering a senior team in the championship may sound radical, but it is the inevitable". Sunday Independent. 23 August 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020. I asked one board member this week how much Rory Gallagher is being paid. He said 'I don't ask, I don't want to know'. 'How is he being paid?' 'I don't know. As I said, I don't ask'. As part of the package, Rory is driving a sponsored 5 series BMW from JKC Motors. A Fermanagh man, or is it Cavan, or Antrim, I cannot put my finger on it, he was appointed by the previous board on the basis that he was a 'top rank professional manager'.
  26. ^ Bogue, Declan (30 May 2022). "Underdogs Derry beat Donegal in extra-time to win first title in 24 years". The42. Retrieved 3 June 2022.

External linksEdit