Saturday 23 September 2017

McGuinness signs up for fourth season with Donegal

Jim McGuinness will return as Donegal manager for a fourth year
Jim McGuinness will return as Donegal manager for a fourth year

Gaelic games

JIM McGuinness has agreed to return for a fourth year in charge of Donegal – and insists hunger is not an issue within his squad.

McGuinness conveyed his decision to Donegal county chairman Sean Dunnion on Saturday afternoon following a lengthy meeting between the pair in Glenties.

The 40-year-old had carefully considered his options since Donegal's 16-point All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Mayo.

McGuinness' biggest concern had centred on the scheduling of the Donegal club championship. During Donegal's Ulster championship campaign this summer, three first round ties in the Donegal SFC were played.

"The opportunity to prepare the team and get that two, three or four-week run-in for a game, and build week on week and night on night wasn't there," McGuinness said.

The 2012 All-Ireland winning boss explained that nine of his players missed 41pc of training due to injuries and that for four of the eight Ulster SFC weeks his players were on club duty.

McGuinness said: "You can't miss that amount of work and go in and try and compete with teams who are just priming themselves for the August Bank Holiday weekend."

Last Tuesday, Donegal's senior and intermediate clubs voted, following a fixtures forum with McGuinness four days earlier, to defer next year's championship until after Donegal interest in the All-Ireland series has ended.

Donegal's hunger was questioned this year – but McGuinness dismissed that out of hand.

He will now begin the process of holding individual meetings with his players, but the suggestion is there will be no retirements and the possibility that Ryan Bradley and Ross Wherity, who have emigrated, will return for 2014.

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