McGuinness not a happy camper
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness descried as ‘ridicilous' the Ulster Council's regulation that decrees he must stick to the 26 man squad he submitted to the provincial council for the Dr McKenna Cup.
Speaking after Sunday 1-13 to 0-13 defeat to Tyrone in Edendork, the Donegal manager said for the second week in-a-row he had only one outfield substitute and was forced once again to put back on a player that he had taken off earlier.
"It is a very dangerous situation and it means that you are using and abusing players rather than playing a player," said a clearly irate McGuinness.
"We had a situation today where we were forced to put Odhran McNiallais back on after earlier taking him off . This is very unfair on the player, but that is the situation we found ourselves in and we had no other choice, but it is ridiculous and there is no other way to describe the regulation that means we cannot bring in players to the squad.
"We have a situation where we have players sittintg in Dublin and at home in Donegal today and are part of the county set-up but we cnanot play them."
"I find it very frustrating when I see James Horan in Mayo using 15 different players for his three games in the FBD League and Seamus McEnaney able to use 20 different players for Meath's three games in the O'Byrne Cup."
McGuinness stated that Donegal were going to have to go back to the provicial body to see if some solution can be found to the problem. Otherwise he warned that Donegal could find themselves in a position where they might not be able to field against Fermanagh next Saturday night in Ballybofey.
"With Rory (Kavanagh) picking up a knock today it has got to the stage where we may not have a team for the Fermanagh game. We are going to have to go back to the Ulster Council and see if they can tweak the rules a little. If they don't we are going to be in bother because any of the lads that are out injured are two to three weeks off being back and fit again.
"I'm a new manager, and I have all those players outside who I have never worked with. I have to throw them cold into a National Football League game, and I'm forced to play two 19-year-olds who have never played even U-21 for the county."
McGuinness described his preparations for the National League, which is only two weeks away, as a ‘disaster'.
"The National Football League is two weeks away, and the McKenna Cup has been of no benefit to Donegal whatsoever.
"We had too many players out injured; we were forced to put in a squad made up of five U-21 players, three or four of which had never played senior football before.
"We have nine away with the colleges, so between the colleges and the restrictions in Ulster, it has been of no benefit. We will be able to look at maybe one third of the players who will potentially play in the National League.
"From my point of view, and from the point of view of a senior manager, I think that the senior managers in the country should have first call on their players.
"The colleges have first call, and the restrictions in Ulster have left us in a situation now where we don't have a strong indication whatsoever of what our team could be for the first league game.
"And we have absolutely zero preparation done as regards a team working together, training together and preparing together for a game. I haven't seen Michael Murphy, I haven't seen Mark McHugh, it's just a bad situation."
And injuries sustained in the opening day win over UUJ have further depleted his playing resources.
"We lost Ryan Bradley, Barry Dunnion and David Walsh in the Jordanstown game. You add that to Michael Hegarty, Marty Boyle and Johnny Bonner, all injured, and these are all guys that are in the 26."
Due to a number of players going down with the ‘flu and other injuries Donegal were allowed to forward a second list of 26 players minus five of the names on the original list. And Jim McGuinness's dilemma is complicated that a number of the initial list are now fit again but due to the regulation are not allowed play.