Saturday 20 December 2014

McGuinness: Dublin just like Chelsea as resources widen divide to title rivals

Published 19/08/2014 | 02:30

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness believes the divide between Dublin and the rest is only going to grow and will be 'very difficult to penetrate' in the future. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness believes the divide between Dublin and the rest is only going to grow and will be 'very difficult to penetrate' in the future. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has drawn parallels between the level of resources Dublin GAA now enjoys and the impact of Roman Abramovich’s takeover as Chelsea owner more than a decade ago.

McGuinness has predicted that the divide between Dublin and the rest is only going to grow and it’s “going to be very difficult to penetrate” in the future.

Ahead of their All-Ireland semi-final date in just under two weeks’ time, McGuinness has credited the capital for building impressively on the momentum of the 2011 All-Ireland final win over Kerry.

The parallel drawn with Russian billionaire Abramovich’s purchase of Chelsea and the impact it had on the Premier League crystallises his belief that Dublin could be well placed to dominate for years.

“I think the divide is becoming bigger and bigger. I think that Dublin are way out in front of any other team,”  said the 2012 All-Ireland winning manager.

“I suppose if we were having this conversation 10 years ago, you would say Kerry were the team that had all the resources. They really looked after their players with jobs, Kerry Group supporting them and all that type of thing.

“But Dublin have just. . . it was like Abramovich going into the Premier League.  It’s a different ball game, the level that they have taken sports science to. With nutrition, conditioning, the amount of coaches they have, it’s a professional set-up in every aspect.

"And they're getting the benefit of that now. They won their All-Ireland in 2011 after a long break. And the young lads had seen a breakthrough at 14 years of age," added McGuinness.

"Maybe it is like some of our young lads after 2012 who are our minors now and Declan (Bonner) has taken them through to an All-Ireland semi-final.

"I would imagine that a torch was lit under some of them after we made the breakthrough in 2012.

"You've got Dublin now winning the All-Ireland last year. And every kid in the city wants to be the next Bernard Brogan.

"So there is huge momentum. Kerry have done that for years as well. But there is huge momentum with resources and training facilities.

"It's going to be very difficult to penetrate moving forward."

McGuinness said no one could be critical of a county that is constantly raising its standards.

"I'm not going to sit here and criticise that. Because what we've tried to do over the last four years is raise our own levels," he said.

"If you want to compete with teams like Dublin, that's what you need to do.

"You need to be able to have structures in place that give young players the best possible chance of developing the right way, making it through to the senior team and ultimately being successful."

Irish Independent

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