The Donegal County Board will give Jim McGuinness whatever time he needs to assess his future as manager of last year’s All-Ireland champions.
Donegal were dumped out at the All-Ireland championship at the quarter-final stage on Sunday when they were comprehensively defeated by Mayo, 4-17 to 1-10, in a repeat of last year’s final at Croke Park.
County chairman Sean Dunnion last night expressed his gratitude to McGuinness, who has won two Ulster championships and the All-Ireland in three years at the helm in the north-west, as well as the Ulster U-21 title in 2010.
“We’d be naturally keen to hold onto Jim, his assistant Rory Gallagher, the backroom team and all of the players,” Dunnion said. “They’ve brought unbelievable success to the county and we would be hopeful they will stay on.
“At the minute, though, we’d like to give them space for a few weeks. Jim said in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s game against Mayo that he, the backroom team and the panel will hold their own appraisal of the season. We will give them time to do that and will then sit down with him whenever he is ready.”
McGuinness works as a performance consultant for Celtic FC and he and his wife Yvonne, who already have three young children, are expecting twins. Since being appointed by the Scottish Premier League champions last November, McGuinness has been commuting to and from Glasgow from his home in Glenties.
“When Jim was initially appointed in 2010 he asked for a four-year term and he’s now three years into that term,” Dunnion continued. “We appreciate his situation with twins on the way and work in Scotland but we will sit down and discuss matters.”
Dunnion is also hopeful McGuinness’s players will commit to the set-up for next year. Rumours that Frank McGlynn had stepped aside yesterday are wide of the mark when the All-Star defender confirmed he will be available for selection again. Colm McFadden is also willing to continue.
“I think there’s plenty of football in me and there’s plenty of football in the whole squad,” said McFadden, the championship’s top-scorer last season with 4-32. “We’ll have to regroup over the winter and try and come back stronger.”
Midfielder Rory Kavanagh, who made his championship debut in 2002, will consider his options over the coming months before making a decision.
“I’ll talk to friends and family over the winter and I’ll see where I stand,” he said. “I’m not going to make any rash decisions. It takes huge commitment. It’s seven days a weeks and it’s something I will consider over time.”
Sunday was only McGuinness’s third championship loss in 18 matches but the county’s heaviest championship defeat since 1946, when they lost 5-8 to 0-3 in the Ulster semi-final to Cavan.
It was also the heaviest loss suffered by any reigning All-Ireland champions since Kerry hammered Dublin 5-11 to 0-9 in the 1978 final that was famed when Mikey Sheehy chipped a goal from a free-kick over Paddy Cullen.