McGuinness’s Donegal backroom team ‘close to completion’

Jim McGuinness expects to have his new Donegal backroom team in place in the coming days.

McGuinness’s Donegal backroom team ‘close to completion’

However, the 2012 All-Ireland winning manager, speaking in his capacity as a judge for the Arthur Guinness Projects, declined to discuss the sequence of events that saw Rory Gallagher and Maxi Curran depart their roles with the county last week.

A county board statement at the time confirmed what it claimed was McGuinness’ intention to make changes to his management team — just days after it was confirmed that he would himself stay on.

“It is something that has to be done and that is all that there is to it. We are in the process of it now and we are very close to completion. Once it is done, it is just about meeting the players and starting the ball rolling.

“They are very hungry to get at it again and that is the big one for me,” added McGuinness.

“And once we start that process it will be just about pushing on and giving it everything we have got.”

Damien Diver, who has distanced himself from any role, Paddy Campbell and Joe McBrearty have all been possible names mentioned but McGuinness would only say that there are only so many people who could fit the job spec required.

McGuinness may well have to make do next year without Ryan Bradley and Ross Wherity who are emigrating to Dubai and New York respectively — in the short-term at least — but all the indications are that the rest of the squad will hang tight.

The hope is that McGuinness’ fourth year will prove less frustrating than his third which saw them relegated to Division Two, beaten in an Ulster final to Monaghan and an All-Ireland quarter-final trouncing by Mayo.

As far as he is concerned, this ‘annus horribilis’ has been a consequence of a club championship which ploughed on during the height of the county championship summer and which left nine of his men injured.

“We have done a very thorough assessment of (the year) to be brutally honest with you — between the players, medical people, coaching, everybody that was involved in it. We have done a very thorough assessment of it.

“We have our own opinions on it. If I started to tell you now you would say I am making excuses for what had happened but there were things going on maybe that could have been …. the club championship in particular.”

Donegal’s county men played, by McGuinness’ reckoning, nine games in just 11 weeks at the height of the summer but talks with the board have abolished such a schedule for 2014 when they will look to emulate Dublin’s two titles in three years.

“I like where you are going with this. That’s my next team talk. Ah no, listen, that’s the challenge. Definitely. I think we’ve only four or five players in the club championship now.

“There’s been a couple of shocks in Donegal in the club championship and there is not a lot of them involved so they are getting a good break and a chance to recover.

“Paddy McGrath has had surgery, a couple of players are getting their injuries sorted out. Hopefully whenever we press the button again and get the strength and conditioning that they are going to be feeling good about it.

“From talking to them and talking to Michael Murphy, the captain, they are very positive about next year and that was very important before I decided I wanted to go back.”

For the full list of Arthur Guinness Projects winners visit www.arthurguinnessprojects.com

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