Donegal manager Jim McGuinness admits he has no doubt Seamus Coleman would’ve been part of his All-Ireland winning panel had he not chosen a career in professional soccer.
Coleman played for Donegal up until the U-16 Buncrana Cup bracket and the Killybegs native won a county minor championships in 2005. He perhaps would’ve been part of Donegal’s successes, most notably Sean Clerkin’s 2006 Ulster minor winning team, only to have signed for Sligo Rovers that January.
Now 24, Coleman was in the same underage set-up as players like Ross Wherity and Martin McElhinney, while Declan Walsh, Leo McLoone and Michael Murphy were just a year younger.
But while some of his former teammates have won Sam Maguire, Everton’s Coleman is now Ireland’s first choice right-back and one of the most highly rated players in the Premier League.
“A brilliant player,” McGuinness said of Coleman this week. “Play anywhere and the thing about him is exactly what you are seeing on television - athleticism, skill and a brilliant attitude. A hard working, industrious attitude with a serious sprinkling of quality.
“Seamus is a player that would be with us now, because he was a brilliant minor and under-21 and everything.
“He would be with us. I’m sure he would probably be in the team because he was Michael Murphy, Leo McLoone’s vintage. Seamus is a fantastic lad and I think there is a lot more to come from him. I think he is going to go the whole way.”