LEGENDARY Donegal Manager, Jim McGuinness, has been named as Donegal Person of the Year for 2012, much to the delight of a packed audience at Dublin’s Mansion House on Monday.
In recent years, Jim McGuinness has been the recipient of many awards after steering Donegal to All-Ireland final victor and back to back Ulster titles.
In his acceptance speech, the Glenties man said that this award was particularly special and he was honoured and delighted to receive it on behalf of the Donegal team along with the management and back-room support teams.
Joe Bonnar, vice chairman of Dublin’s Donegal Association and MC for the night, welcomed the large crowd to the Mansion House and thanked the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí, for the use of the stunning venue. Also a native of Glenties, Joe welcomed last year’s winners, Anne Marie Ward and representative for the late Hugh Greene, Mary Harte.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin welcomed the large Donegal contingent to the Mansion House and revealed that they flew the Donegal flag over the Mansion House for the entire week after Donegal had won the All-Ireland in tribute to the team’s achievement. And, given the large crowd in attendance the Lord Mayor joked that the Mansion House could be christened ‘Arás Thír Chonaill’ for the night.
Cathaoirleach, Sorcha Ní Dhomhnaill spoke of how the Donegal Association has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
Much to the anticipation of the crowd in attendance, she finished by announcing the Donegal Person of the Year – “This man who has brought pride and honour to our county at a time when we could only see doom and gloom, Jim Mc Guinness, Pearsa Thír Chonaill 2012.”
An enthusiastic Martin McGettigan, President of the Association, spoke of Jim’s many achievements in 2012. Most importantly the pride and joy he brought to the people in Donegal who waited 20 years for the return of Sam Maguire and the elusive All Ireland title for the county. While Jim’s success has been a remarkable story, it highlights that with the right vision and leadership, combined with encouragement and dedication, anything is possible. Jim brought something truly positive and inspirational to the people of Donegal, at home and around the world and he lifted our spirits at a time when it was greatly needed!
Jim attended the event with his wife, Yvonne, and said he was humbled to be in such an historic building with so many Donegal people present to accept the award. He spoke of the hard work, effort and commitment of all the players, support team and management who worked tirelessly over the last few years resulting in the success of 2012. Since the victory in September, Jim said he has been in the privileged position of seeing firsthand the pride and joy that the Sam Maguire brings to the people of Donegal. He thanked the Donegal Association for the special award andsaid it was unique to have the outgoing and incoming Donegal Persons of the Year who are so involved in the sporting world.
Jim McGuinness will be inaugurated as The Donegal Person of the Year 2012 at the Annual Gala Ball on Saturday, February 23, in the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9. This promises to be a very special night with the excitement starting to build now after the announcement on Monday night. Tickets are limited so please contact the Secretary at 086 8077965 or Public Relations Officer at 087 2439317 to reserve your tickets.