Dr. McKenna Cup not working for us - McGuinness

Donegal are going to have to take a look at their participation in the Dr. McKenna Cup, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness warned in his address to the Donegal county committee this week.

Donegal are going to have to take a look at their participation in the Dr. McKenna Cup, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness warned in his address to the Donegal county committee this week.

The Donegal manager, who was addressing the delegates on the county’s season so far, told the committee at their monthly meeting on Monday night in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey, that there were a number of issues in relation to the Ulster secondary competition that need to be addressed.

And while he did not go as far as to suggest that Donegal should not take part in the competition, he most definitely hinted as such, having earlier in the year questioned the worth of the competition in its current form and even suggested that Donegal should seriously consider its participation in the competition.

“It was a negative campaign for us,” he said on Monday night, referring to the Dr. McKenna Cup.

“There are a number of things we are going to have to look at when it comes to the competition because at the minute it is not working for us and it is something we are going to have to consider,” he added.

While he did not go into the detail of those issues and problems on Monday night, his biggest grievance, which he has aired in the past on a number of occasions, is that the third level colleges have first call on county players for competitions such as the Dr. McKenna Cup, its equivalent in Leinster, the O’Byrne Cup and the FBD Cup in Connacht.

In the course of the early part of the season the Donegal manager was very vocal on the issue and had a very public spat with the Head of Sport at Dublin City University, Niall Moyna, over the availability of St. Michael’s Martin McElhinney.

Meanwhile, McGuinness, also in his report, stated that the National League had gone well and was a very positive experience which was crowned by retaining Division One status.

“The league was very positive and it allowed us to try out a few things that we wanted to do in preparation for the championship. The league afforded us that opportunity and while we lost a few matches as a consequence thankfully we survived in Division One which was important too and we are looking forward to playing the top teams again next year.”

Referring to the championship and the wins over Cavan, Derry and in particular Saturday’s semi-final win over Tyrone, he said: “While the games against Cavan and Derry were handy enough, Saturday’s game against Tyrone was a huge challenge for us and it took a huge performance and was a performance we have been working to achieve for the past 18 months.

“Tyrone really put it up to us and put us to the pin of our collar and it took a huge effort. And the satisfying thing about it that we were up to the challenge and won and are now in the Ulster final and hoping to put Ulster titles back to back, something no team from the county has ever done. We are looking forward to that and the challenge that Down will provide.”

He also went on to say that the county executive had been very supportive this year and that anything that they looked for they had received and that was very positive.

He also said that club fixtures had gone well and there were no great problems in that area and he thanked the clubs that made their facilities available to the team for training.