Where to now Donegal? COMMENT

Peter Campbell, Spor

Reporter:

Peter Campbell, Spor

Where to now Donegal? COMMENT
We all hope that he has a plan! Jim McGuinness has taken Donegal from nothing to their own Errigal and now he has some climbing to do again.

We all hope that he has a plan! Jim McGuinness has taken Donegal from nothing to their own Errigal and now he has some climbing to do again.

The announcement that he will rebuild his backroom team for his assault on the 2014 championship has shocked the Donegal GAA world, but while the details remain sketchy, it’s what happens in the next week that is now the most important issue.

The manager has the right to freshen his team and many GAA followers felt it was necessary after Donegal’s heavy defeat to Mayo.

But was the change planned? The way the story broke on Tuesday would suggest that it wasn’t although you can never be sure with Jim McGuinness. He has shown that he can take tough decisions, and this must have been one of the toughest he has faced in his tenure with Donegal.

The relationship between himself and Rory Gallagher, in particular, has been a close one and one that has worked very well. Gallagher’s coaching and training ability was widely regarded and along with Jim’s great motivational skills, it seemed the perfect partnership.

But we all know that there can only be one leader and Jim McGuinness has proved himself on that level. There have been times when we questioned him on certain aspects of the way he dealt with the media, but you could not question his commitment to the Donegal cause.

It was McGuinness who took Donegal from the ashes and made them respectable. Any discipline that was needed was carried out in-house and in a quiet manner.

There was none of the public spats which was becoming the norm during the reign of previous managers.

In some ways this latest story is one that goes against the grain and one that could have been handled better. Jim McGuinness is a private person. He is also very committed and whatever happened at the management meeting on Sunday must have been serious to have led to a parting of the ways between himself and Rory Gallagher.

Now McGuinness has to rebuild and the next week or two could be as important for Donegal football as the last three years of his tenure.

In the ideal world the person who McGuinness will bring on board would be the future manager of the county. McGuinness has one year left on his contract and if we presume that his tenure will end in September of next year, wouldn’t it be a good result if a future Donegal manager had a year’s apprenticeship served under the most successful manager ever?

Both parties were refusing to comment on the matter as we go to press but hopefully the situation can be cleared up sooner rather than later for the greater good of Donegal GAA.