Tuesday 19 November 2019

McGuinness 'intrigued' by constant focus on Donegal's defensive system

The Donegal manager does not believe that the Ulster champions are different to any of the teams remaining in the All-Ireland race.
The Donegal manager does not believe that the Ulster champions are different to any of the teams remaining in the All-Ireland race.
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

JIM McGUINNESS says he is "intrigued" by the debate that surrounds his side's style of playing football and wonders why others do not suffer the same inquiries about their own systems.

The Donegal manager does not believe that the Ulster champions are different to any of the teams remaining in the All-Ireland race who, he believes, all operate some form of defensive system.

"When you are a manager and coach, you have a keen eye on the other teams in the country and what they are doing and particularly the top teams," he said. "Every single one of them has a distinct system of play. I find it interesting that that's not an issue for other teams.

"I remember Armagh years ago, under Joe Kernan. Their system was so distinct you could nearly tell what they were going to do next. Even at that, a lot of the time you weren't able to stop it because they were so good at it.

"All the top teams have different ways of playing the game. Our players are young and evolving and as they move and change, we're trying to shape things around the game plan in relation to that."

Donegal go into Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final as outsiders against a Cork side who hammered them when they last met in championship football, in the 2009 quarter-final.

But McGuinness, who took over in the wake of that 1-27 to 2-10 loss, does not believe that his side will be scarred by the defeat.

"It's not something we've spoken about once in the build-up to Sunday's game," he said. "I don't intend to speak about it either. It has no relevance to us. Maybe it has (relevance) for the Cork players. They might feel they've done that to us in the past and they potentially could do it again."

Although his team have earned plaudits for their style of play this season, as they claimed back-to-back Ulster titles and beat Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter-final, the manager warned that they have yet to hit top gear.

"We put on a good show against Down in the Ulster final, particularly in the second half," he said. "But even the last day (against Kerry), I thought we played a bit more conservatively in the first half and opened up a bit more in the second half."

Irish Independent

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