McGuinness and Cassidy set for Big Apple crunch

Jim McGuinness is set to come face to face with Kevin Cassidy on November’s All Stars trip to New York.

As an award winner last season, Cassidy will be on the plane to the Big Apple on November 14.

Traditionally, the All-Ireland winning managers of the previous two seasons are also invited to take charge of the teams in the exhibition game, meaning McGuinness and former Dublin boss Pat Gilroy will be asked to come along.

After a clear-the-air meeting last Easter, relations between McGuinness and Cassidy thawed but the Gweedore man will also encounter several of his former Donegal team-mates. Speaking to The Irish Examiner last weekend, Cassidy hinted he has little or no contact with several of the players since he was axed from the panel for his contribution to Declan Bogue’s This Is Our Year book.

“People you wanted the messages to come from, no messages came at all,” he said. As much as he offered Cassidy the opportunity to return to the panel, McGuinness, who refused to expand on his comments about Bogue and his book in Sunday’s post-match press conference, insisted he never questioned his decision to drop him.

“No, myself as manager and the players themselves as well knew the ground-rules. They knew what everybody had committed to so it was very simple, from a management point of view and from the point of view of the players. It wasn’t as if it was a shot from the blue, it was something we had preempted, if you like, and once it happened you just have to deal with it. That’s part of management.”

McGuinness wasn’t surprised none of Cassidy’s team-mates had an issue with how the player was treated.

“The boys themselves hadn’t got a problem with it because they knew themselves. We had talked about things, discussed things and worked through things. When it happened it was very, very disappointing.

“But these things happen. Something might happen again next year. You just have to manage it and deal with it and stay true to your own values. Everything that went on around that was based on team goals, team ethic and the unit. The team is number one, nothing, including the manager, can get in the way of the team. That is very important and when you lose that then the whole thing can disintegrate very quickly.”

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