John Haran can see both sides of the argument over whether the breaking up of Jim McGuinness’s backroom team is a good thing or not.
St Eunan’s clubman Haran drew comparisons between Mickey Harte’s decision to replace Paddy Tally at Tyrone following their breakthrough All-Ireland title in 2003.
“It’s a similar case to Paddy Tally with Tyrone,” Haran said yesterday. “Everyone was surprised when Paddy was replaced following the All-Ireland win but Fergal McCann came in and helped them to All-Ireland titles in 2005 and 2008, with Tony Donnelly becoming Mickey Harte’s assistant too.”
Like much of the footballing fraternity in the county, the scant details of the departure of Jim Guinness’s assistant and backroom team members Maxi Curran and Francie Friel meant Haran had mainly to comment on speculative stories he heard in regards the Donegal set-up.
“There’s a lot of speculation,” Haran, who played inter-county football for Donegal between 1998 and 2005, added. “It seems as though there was some sort of disagreement and the boys walked. Perhaps Rory and Maxi wanted a little more say in things. But we’re not sure.
“Maybe a little bit of freshening up will do Donegal good. At the end of the day, Jim is the manager and the buck stops with him. It’s also his backroom team and he can change that in whatever way he feels.”
Regardless of the seniors, Haran feels it’s imperative that Curran and Friel continue their good work with the Donegal U-21 panel, who reached the Ulster final this year following wins over both Tyrone and Derry.
“I believe they will be staying with the U-21s, which is good news,” Haran said. “Maxi and Franice are very professional with that panel and I know they’re well into their plans for next year. Jim let them use the Dr McKenna Cup for their preparations this year and that was a huge help. Let’s hope they can all still enjoy a good working relationship together.”