Donegal’s All-Ireland winning heroes have been rubbing shoulders with the best of them since they clinched Sam Maguire and this week Karl Lacey received a letter of congratulations from Arsene Wenger.
Footballer of the year Lacey has been in London, New York and Boston in recent weeks but on Tuesday night the Donegal Town native used his twitter account to reveal the letter he had received from the Arsenal manager.
Dated November 1 and written on Arsenal headed note paper from their contact centre in Highbury House, it read: “On behalf of all the players and staff, may I take this opportunity to send our congratulations on recently winning the All-Ireland Football Championship in Ireland.
“I note that you totally committed and dedicated to this sport and that you won RTE Player of the Year Award 2012.
“We understand that you are a loyal Arsenal supporter for which we are grateful and hopefully we shall soon be bringing trophies to Emirates Stadium. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the future. Yours sincerely, (signed) Arsene Wenger.”
Lacey has been a lifelong supporter of the North London club and regularly attends matches, most notably the Champions League final at the Stade de France in Paris in 2006 when Arsenal lost 2-1 to Barcelona.
Earlier this month, Lacey was a spectator at Arsenal’s Premier League fixture against Fulham, which ended in a 3-3 draw, with Donegal manager Jim McGuinness.
The footballing delegation that also included Neil Gallagher, Neil and Eamon McGee and Michael Murphy were in the English capital for the Donegal Association of London annual dinner dance, where they were guests of honour in Cricklewood. Lacey’s award was, in fact, the GAA GPA Opel ‘Footballer of the year,’ which was announced live on RTE.
With an All-Ireland championship, a footballer of the year award, two Ulster championship medals and four All-Star awards 28-year-old Lacey is now Donegal’s most decorated footballer.
Jim McGuinness this week started his part-time role as Celtic FC’s performance director. McGuinness will combine the role with the Scottish Premier League champions with his position with the Donegal footballers.
He will commute between his home in Kilkenny, outside of Glenties, to Glasgow’s West End, where he has been provided with an apartment. McGuinness and his assistant Rory Gallagher met with the Donegal panel on Saturday morning at the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny, where the players were given their individual programmes for the coming months.
The All-Ireland champions will embark on their end of season holiday between Christmas and the New Year before returning in early January.