What impact will Stephen Rochford have on Donegal’s fortunes in 2019?

September 21, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

EOGHAN BÁN GALLAGHER is hopeful the addition of Stephen Rochford to Donegal’s backroom team will give them “a different way of looking at football” in 2019.

Rochford stepped down as Mayo manager after two years in charge and comes on board under Declan Bonner as coach, with Donegal looking to build on their Ulster title-winning campaign.

“Declan is a Donegal man and all he wants is for Donegal to do well,” said Gallagher.

“He’s not in it for his personal gain, like the rest of the people there, nobody is in it for their personal gain, everyone is there for the cause of Donegal.

“Declan is no different. He thought Stephen was a good person to bring in to improve Donegal football, he decided to go with that decision, and Stephen took a step back by becoming a number two or coach of Donegal so it’s a positive for us that Stephen wanted to be involved with Donegal as well.”

Looking ahead to the summer, Gallagher believes the only way to take down All-Ireland champions Dublin is with an offensive game-plan and Rochford teams are known for playing attacking football.

“I’ve been very impressed (with Rochford),” says Gallagher. “Coming from Connacht and Mayo and managing Corofin, they play a wee bit more of a so-called attacking style than Donegal.

“He brings a different aspect because in Donegal we normally only have coaches from Donegal and Ulster and that.

“So with him coming from Connacht, Mayo, and Corofin he brings a different style and a different way of looking at football which can only benefit Donegal. He’s coming with new ideas and I’m sure him and Declan and the rest of the backroom team are in harmony discussing the best way to go about playing.

Gallagher goes past Niall Sludden of Tyrone.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“It’s only positive for us because it’s fresh ideas and Stephen Rochford was close to beating Dublin three times. So, yeah, it’s positive for us.

“Every team knows they have to attack a lot more to beat Dublin. I think a few people have come out and said you need at least 20 points to beat Dublin and that’s probably not far off the mark.

“They’re going to put up 18 or 19 points regardless so you’ve to score more than them to beat them.”

Karl Lacey has been retained as a defence coach by Bonner after initially opting out of the set-up due to work commitments.

Gallagher’s white boots and piercing runs from the back have drawn comparisons between himself and the former Footballer of the Year, who was part of the last team to beat Dublin in championship football.

Gallagher, unlucky not to win an All-Star last year, insists it’s a pleasure to work with Lacey.

“Karl was a fantastic player, probably up there as one of Donegal’s greatest ever players. One of the best players of his generation.

“You can see the drive he had personally now whenever he’s coaching us. Again, he’s just there to make Donegal better. He’s given up his time, he doesn’t have to be there.

“Listen, we’re very thankful that a player of Karl’s quality is in with us because he’s a fantastic coach as well and it’s really positive for us to have someone of his quality in with us.”

Donegal begin their bid for promotion from Division 2 with a trip to Ennis to take on Clare this Sunday.

They’ll be without the Gweedore contingent for the opening three league games at least, while a number of veterans, including Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty, are out through injury. 

It’s believed the trio Mark McHugh, Stephen McBrearty and Darach O’Connor are no longer part of the panel.

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