Friday 24 May 2019

Jim McGuinness calls for Dubs to forgo one Croker 'Super 8' tie

Jim McGuinness will join the Sky Sports analysis team for Cavan v Tyrone and Kildare v Mayo this weekend. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Jim McGuinness will join the Sky Sports analysis team for Cavan v Tyrone and Kildare v Mayo this weekend. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has called on Dublin and the GAA to "do the right thing" and play one of the Dubs' two 'Super 8s' games due to be played in Croke Park away from headquarters.

All of the teams who make the last eight of the championship are due to play a game in Croke Park, a game away from home and a game in their own county ground.

Dublin are widely expected to play their 'home' game at the Jones' Road venue, meaning they will play there twice in the three-game series.

And McGuinness wants to see Jim Gavin's men move that fixture to a neutral venue. "I think it's an opportunity for Dublin and for Croke Park to do the right thing and go the same as all the other teams," McGuinness said at the launch of Now TV's steaming service.

"They're the best team in the country, they're chasing amazing goals season after season. Just play the game (in Croke Park), play the game away from home and then say, 'Listen, we don't care where we play the game, play the game at a neutral venue', and just do that and everybody will be happy."

All eight teams are set to play in Croke Park in round one across the weekend of July 14/15. And if the GAA and Dublin were to heed McGuinness' suggestion, it would see them move what would effectively be deemed to be their 'home' game to a neutral venue.

"All this thing that is fired at Dublin negatively, it can't be… it helps their own legacy, it helps Jim Gavin's legacy, it helps the team's legacy and it stops people from being negative. They've got the biggest population, they've got the most money and all these things.

"So it's an opportunity to rise above that and go to a neutral venue and do what they do anyway and that's win almost every single game.

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"If you look at it from everybody that isn't from Dublin, and you think 2014 was the last time they were beat in the championship, that was the last game they lost, so the chances of them losing two games in the Super 8s at home (in Croke Park) in a month when they haven't lost two games in four years, it's not realistic. So, the reality is, people from the outside looking in will go, 'That's a fix, that's set up and Dublin's going to progress again'."

McGuinness has returned from a brief stint with the New York Red Bulls and is now looking to move into management in his next role.

"I'm based in Glasgow now and hopefully in the next period take a team and whatever that team will be the ball rolling if you like.

"(I can manage) at any level now, I'm through my 'A' (licence) and my next badge is my pro licence. I'll hopefully be starting that in and around Christmas time. I just feel having gone in as a psychologist, and then the 16s, the 19s, and then as an assistant coach, I feel that I'm getting to that point that I have my own take on the game and that I'd like to start working at the coalface again. It's been a long road."

McGuinness wouldn't be drawn on rumours that he has been working with Declan Bonner's Donegal in an advisory capacity though he did refuse to rule out a return to inter-county management.

"Never say never, that is the way I would look at it. Obviously, your county and the emotional attachment and your people and in your own mind, absolute memories of a lifetime. Speaking to a lot of the boys yesterday, the Donegal lads, they were having a very good time of themselves in Donegal town.

"And the experience they were having this week on the back of winning an Ulster title. It is a very special thing and I was very fortunate to experience that."

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