I begin this week with something that was bothering me all of last week and since I read the weekend papers. The source of my exasperation were two articles in both the Daily Mail, on Saturday week last, and another in the Sunday World, the following day.
The columns penned by Liam Hayes in the Daily Mail and by Roy Curtis in the Sunday World were, to say the least of it, a little more than critical of Jim McGuinness.
The main theme of both pieces was that Jim’s loyalties were divided between Donegal and Glasgow Celtic. I must say I didn’t like what I read and what’s more, let me hasten, in my opinion there is no foundation to either belief.
As we know here in Donegal, it could not be further from the truth and I think both gentlemen received their answer in Celtic Park on Sunday.
Jim’s day job is with Celtic. It is no different than if he was working in a full-time job here in Donegal or on an oil or gas rig off the coast of Scotland.
He is managing Donegal in a purely voluntary capacity and has been for the last three years, and may I add making a pretty good fist of it.
Two Ulster titles, an All-Ireland title - only the county’s second - a Division Two League title and promotion to Division One twice, is his record since he took over from John Joe Doherty at the end of 2010.
His situation is no different to that of Jim Gavin’s in Dublin or all the other managers in football and hurling right around the country. Jim has a day job to pay the bills and devotes his time to Donegal on a voluntary capacity. So I don’t know what is the big deal. Is there an underlining problem because; is it because it is soccer, I wonder? I hope not; I thought we had left all that behind us and moved on and had become a more open and tolerant society.
I say to those men in their ivory towers in Dublin, lay off Jim. He is our man and we are very proud of him and the job he is doing. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t like what I read and hope there are not some people out there with their own agendas.
This brings me on nicely to another bone I want to pick. In the aftermath of last Sunday’s game with Derry, the critics were out again and having a go at Donegal and their style of play.
Much of the criticism was on the same old issue of our blanket defence and 12 and 13 men behind the ball. That might have been the case in the first half. But we weren’t the only ones at it. As the old saying goes it takes two to tango. Derry were equally defensive and spent a good part of the game with 12 and 13 defenders inside their own half.
Overall, I thought some of the football we played on Sunday last in Celtic Park was of the highest quality. This was especially so in the second half and particularity the third quarter when we hit a goal and five points without reply to effectively win the game.
The goal and the move leading up to it was top class. It was as good a move as you are likely to witness this summer, while a number of the points were top drawer. Especially the one from Michael Murphy where he sidestepped one defender and lobbed it over the bar before the second defender could close him down was off the top shelf. Michael’s point from the sideline was a thing of beauty and was rightly compared with the famous point kicked by Kerry’s Maurice Fitzgerald in Thurles against Dublin a number of years ago. Looking forward to the summer, it could be a long one.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.