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McGuinness: 'The divide is becoming bigger and bigger; Dubs are way out in front'

JIM McGuinness has compared the effect of Dubin's recent footballing success to the arrival of Roman Abramovich to the Premier League.

Speaking at a press conference in advance of Donegal's highly anticipated All-Ireland semi-final against Jim Gavin's team next Sunday week, McGuinness spoke at length about the growing force of football in the capital, suggesting other counties may be left behind and stressing that Dublin is "a professional set-up in every aspect".

"I think the divide is becoming bigger and bigger," he outlined. "I think that Dublin are way out in front of any other team.

"I suppose if we were having this conversation 10 years ago, you would say Kerry were the teams that had all the resources.

"They really looked after their players; jobs, (team sponsor) 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."

The 2012 All-Ireland-winning manager, who works as a performance consultant with Celtic, continued: "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 ... 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's huge momentum. Kerry have done that for years as well. But there's huge momentum, resources, training facilities.

"It's going to be very difficult.

"It's going to be very difficult to penetrate that, moving forward, I would suggest."

"It shows you the level," he added. "It just shows you the level. But I'm not going to sit up here and criticise that.

"Because what we've tried to do over the last four years is raise our levels. And that has been difficult sometimes.

"And it has been easier at other times. But if you want to compete with teams like that, that's what you need to do.

"You need to be able to have structures in place that give young players that are developing the best possible chance of developing the right way.

"Making it through to the senior team and ultimately be successful."


McGuinness also reported a clean bill of health for his squad ahead of what will be Donegal's first Championship meeting with Dublin since the infamous 2011 All-Ireland semi-final, and his first summer managerial battle with Jim Gavin since the 2010 All-Ireland under-21 final.

His 2012 Footballer of the Year, Karl Lacey, started and finished Donegal's one-point win over Armagh in the quarter-final but injured his hamstring in the process and while McGuinness said he initially feared the worst, he expected the four-time All Star to be fit for Sunday week.

"He damaged his hamstring in the match against Armagh. He's made a very good recovery," he explained.

"He trained this morning with the medical team and he'll be back fully training with us on Tuesday night.

"So no problems with Karl, thank God. We thought it might have been a wee bit worse, to be honest. We thought it might have been a Grade 2 hamstring tear.

"But the strength is back up to 95/100 per cent now and he's done a good physical session with the boys.


"He will be fully integrated on Tuesday night so ... no problem.

"Neil McGee strained his hamstring but he trained during the week. Just hopefully now that they've all come through the weekend with the clubs.

"We have a clean bill of health at the moment so just hoping they come through."