JIM MCGUINNESS has called on Donegal County Council and its representative bodies to assist in helping a number of his panellists find employment.
The Donegal manager made the plea at Friday night’s civic reception from the council for the All-Ireland champions at Lifford County House, where lavish praise had been laid upon the manager and his players following the capture of Sam Maguire and their fine ambassadorial roles since.
“These players have been phenomenal to work with,” McGuinness said. “It was an unbelievable experience working with them. Some of them have put their life on hold.
“Some of them are not employed and I’m just thinking off the top of my head - Paddy McGrath, Ryan Bradley, Leo McLoone, Anthony Thompson, Martin McElhinney and Eamon McGee
“They’re struggling to find employment and have worn the county jersey on All-Ireland final day.
“Some put emigration on hold to represent their county, some have put marriage or starting a family on hold because they’re not in the position to get the mortgage or whatever.
“The one thing I would ask tonight when we have so many high profile representatives in the room would be for us to do our best to get real, solid genuine employment for these players, so they can look to the future playing football.
“It’s hard to focus on two things at the one time and if you have something in the back of your mind saying ‘I need to have security’ or ‘I need to be able to go into a bank and have the right answers,’ it’s tough.”
“So if there were any initiatives going in regards contracts for work through the council or any other representative bodies from those in the chamber tonight I would hope that might be the one thing that would come out of tonight.”
McGuinness also called on the council to assist in anyway they could in the development of theCentre of Excellence in Convoy.
The project will cost €3.178 million and will provide Gaelic games in the county with one central home, where county teams can train and where school and underage games can be accommodated.
The site will eventually incorporate five full-size pitches, one of which will be 3G. Two of the pitches will be floodlit and there will also be a clubhouse incorporating six dressing rooms, a small gymnasium, meeting rooms, kitchen, perimeter walking path and eventually, a small stand and possibly a hydro-pool.
“I know the council has done significant work in the past supporting Donegal GAA,” McGuinness said. “The Centre of Excellent is still at a development stage in regards funding and if anything could be put in place for the next number of years it would be a great initiative.
“A lot of people have spoken tonight about how winning brought pride to the people of Donegal and a facility like Convoy can only add to our future and possible future success. Any funding in that regard from the council would be a great help to the county board and the county teams, whether male or female.”