Donegal manager Jim McGuinness says he is delighted to have been asked to help new European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley ahead of next year’s competition at Gleneagles in Scotland.
McGinley’s father Mick played football for the Ulster county between 1959 and 1961 is a native of Dunfanaghy and the golfer’s mother Julia is from Rathmullan. Last week, the Dubliner became the first ever Irishman to be named as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain.
McGinley spoke after his appointment about his fondness for the team game in general and GAA in particular after representing Donegal club St Michael’s in his early teens as well as Ballyboden St Enda’s and Dublin’s minor and U-21 sides before being forced to retire at 19 having broken a kneecap whilst playing hurling.
McGuinness and the McGinleys have become close friends of late and it was at last June’s Irish Open pro-am at Royal Portrush where Mick McGinley first introduced him to Dermot Desmond.
Paul McGinley then recommended McGuinness to Celtic FC’s major shareholder and six weeks after Donegal won the All-Ireland championship for the second time in their history, the Glenties native was appointed as the Scottish Premier League champions’ performance director.
“Like myself, he likes a lot of details in his preparation,” McGuinness said of Paul McGinley on the Shaun Doherty Show on Highland Radio on Tuesday. “I’ve spoken to Paul since his announcement and we have been texting and if there’s anything at all I can do I would be more than delighted to help him. Paul is a real good Donegal supporter and a real good person.
“When I met him a couple of years ago at Christmas Paul had it in the back of his mind that he wanted to be Ryder Cup captain. For that reason he’s interested in meeting me and discussing teams and team dynamics. There are certain things in certain sports that will ask different things of athletes but there are lots of similarities as well.
“Golf as a sport is very much an individual sport but the Ryder Cup is really a team sport and the dynamics with man-management and communicating with players and how you go about motivating players is very important in a team environment that players might not always be used to.
“Paul was keen to find out what we at Donegal are doing and how I operate, with bits and pieces of psychology that might be helpful to him to move the thing forward. The Ryder Cup is the second biggest sporting event after the World Cup so to be associated with it or being working with that calibre of athlete would be a great experience in itself. We will talk in the coming months and if there’s anything over and above that I would be glad to help him out.”
McGuinness was speaking having been confirmed as Donegal Person of the
Year at Dublin’s Mansion House on Monday night. The presentation night
will take place on February 23 at the Regency Hotel.