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McGuinness slams motion for six-day preparation time

DONEGAL manager Jim McGuinness has joined Waterford hurling boss Michael Ryan in defending the 13-day rule for inter-county teams.

As far as McGuinness is concerned, 13 is a lucky number when it comes to the time allowed with his players in preparing for championship matches.

And that's why he would be against Congress motions aimed at reducing that period to only six days ahead of the GAA's showpiece matches in the summer.

Last week new Deise boss Ryan insisted: "You have to have 13 days because the championship is very, very important.

"Everything is about the championship and it's very important for counties from a financial viewpoint as well, so I wouldn't be changing that 13-day rule."

Inter-county managers are becoming more aware of the increasing calls for the change and they don't like it.

McGuinness, when asked what he thought about being restricted to having his players for just six days in advance of a championship match, said: "It doesn't really sound great.

"Obviously, the effects would probably differ from county to county. We've got about six likely starting members of the team in college, and geographically we're in a difficult enough position.

"Pat Gilroy (Dublin manager) would have a different situation to us. They could maybe do a bit of work in Dublin and do a bit of work with their college because they're all within 40 minutes all the time.

"Our lads are away all week and they're coming home at the weekend, so it's not really until May when we get our hands on them to really start doing any proper coaching.

"You're kind of managing a situation up until that point because the initial stages you're trying to get them fit, and then they're involved in Sigerson, and when the league starts it takes a life of its own.

"It's only when the league is over then you can start focusing on the football side of things.

"That would be an important time of the year for us from the point of view of having free weekends, when we can actually start working with the players on the elements that we would like to bring into our championship games.

"The contact with players is very important."

McGuinness has a number of injury problems as he plans for tomorrow night's Power NI Dr McKenna Cup match against Derry in Ballybofey.

Definitely out is forward Christopher Murrin, who sustained a bad eye injury on his debut against Cavan on Sunday.

Defender Marty Boyle and another debutant, Adrian Hanlon, are doubtful due to hamstring injuries.

McGuinness will use the game to once again give squad players and newcomers a chance to stake their claims as he looks to boost his panel for the championship.

"Derry's very close to Donegal so there'll probably be a reasonable crowd travelling and it should be a decent game," McGuinness added.

"As a management team, you want to be fair to them and give everybody a go, and then everything narrows down after the end of the McKenna Cup.

"It narrows out again after the National League and then you've basically got your players identified that can represent the county at championship level."

Irish Independent