The club v county issue has been a live one in the county since last year and became a hot topic again last weekend when one of two rounds of club league games set for the Easter period fell victim to a county team request to rest players.
“What’s the norm? That’s the question I would ask,” said the Donegal manager after yesterday’s Division Two final loss to Monaghan at Croke Park.
“There are four teams here today and what is the norm for them?
“I don’t think that question has been asked during the week. And what’s the norm for the club championships? The answers to them are that Derry didn’t play any of their inter-county players last weekend.
“Monaghan were in the same situation as us, they had a double round of fixtures and called one of them off — the exact same as us.”
McGuinness went on to claim that every Ulster county had put their club championships on hold last year until the senior county team had done with All-Ireland duties: the difference with Donegal was that they admitted they would do it, he said.
Protest as he might, it was McGuinness’ displeasure with a number of injuries picked up in club championship last summer — during the All-Ireland campaign — that really brought this issue to prominence, both locally and nationally. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the stand-off between club and county around the country, the fact is that injuries occur when games are played. Monaghan found that to their cost yesterday with Owen Lennon limping off after exacerbating an ankle problem.
Whether he makes their Ulster opener against Tyrone or Down remains to be seen but Rory Kavanagh is definitely out of Donegal’s clash with Derry next month.
A straight red card for his hot-headed dig at Darren Hughes will see to that and McGuinness was clearly unhappy with such a foolish and costly course of action four weeks before their summer bow.
“It’s something we could have done without, let’s put it like that. He’s lost his discipline. We were here in August and Eamonn McGee lost his discipline (against Mayo) and it’s not good enough. You represent your county, you’ve a duty to do the right thing. He just got involved in something he shouldn’t have got involved in.”