Saturday 21 January 2017

Colm O'Rourke: One-dimensional mindset will never win an All-Ireland

Jim McGuinness needs to adopt a more adventurous approach, says Colm O'Rourke

Published 04/09/2011 | 05:00

Seldom has a county managed to arouse such heated debate and controversy as Donegal did in a little over an hour last Sunday.

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By the time their All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin was over, most people were glad that the Dubs won and that the All-Ireland final would be a better game as a result. It has left Donegal a bit isolated in much the same way as the Meath team I played on were after the All-Ireland final in 1988. Time heals many wounds, even if some from the past have lingered, just as Donegal will find it will take a while to shed their present image.

Much of the criticism of Donegal is merited. The idea of adopting a very defensive system is their business and Jimmy McGuinness made a very strong case for the system on the basis of where Donegal have come from. That is all well and good but it was the total lack of ambition when the game was up for grabs which galled most people, including Donegal supporters. In the end, the system failed them. Players were adopting such a negative mindset that they seemed unable to change from it. Even when going behind they did not seem to have either the inclination or willingness to throw the kitchen sink at the game when a final place was within touching distance.

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