BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DONEGAL Co Board Chairman Sean Dunnion believes that his committee can find common ground with Jim McGuinness to enable the Glenties man remain as the Donegal senior football team manager for 2014.
McGuinness began his ‘appraisal’ process on Saturday by meeting with, first, his squad and then the three main officers of the Co Executive.
Speculation was rife that McGuinness had agreed to remain on as manager for next year, but these reports were wide of the mark with some hurdles yet to be cleared before the 2012 All-Ireland winning manager will make his call.
Tonight, the Donegal Executive will hear from the officers who met McGuinness in Letterkenny on Saturday – Dunnion, the Secretary Aodh Mairtin O Fearraigh and the Treasurer Grace Boyle.
McGuinness is understood to have sought assurances on a number of fronts from the Executive. Fixtures are among the issues troubling the mind of the Glenties man since during the season gone by.
“All the systems have to be in place,” he said yesterday on BBC, where he was a studio analyst for their coverage of the All-Ireland semi-final between Tyrone and Mayo.
“The biggest thing for me is to be able to prepare the team properly. I don’t think we got that this year on some levels. That’s one of the issues we’ll be looking at and there are also a few other things.”
The Board convenes for a scheduled meeting in Ballybofey tonight and Saturday’s meeting with McGuinness – understood to have lasted an hour and fifteen minutes – will be discussed at length.
Mr Dunnion said: “We will relay what happened at Saturday’s meeting to the Executive. That’s just the next step in the process.
“We had a very good meeting. It was positive and we’re hopeful going forward.”
The Chairman, who is in his first year in the post, is confident that any creases can be ironed out.
He said: “He has brought some things to our attention, but there is nothing that is insurmountable. He is in the process of reviewing the season.”
Dunnion, though, confirmed the desire of Donegal GAA chiefs to retain the services of McGuinness.
He said: “We want, as I said straight after the Mayo game, Jim to stay on. He has three years of the four done and we want him and are keen that he stays for at least year four of that arrangement.”
With McGuinness having a job in Glasgow with Celtic FC and a busy family life that will be added to with the arrival of twins, there is much for him to ponder outside of the football slice of the puzzle.
Mr Dunnion added: “It is important to stress that this is only part of his thought process. Jim has so much going on.”
McGuinness is in Glasgow this week and the Chairman confirmed that there would be ‘no further movement’ on the matter this week.
DECLAN BONNER will look to collect the first piece of silverware from his second tenure in charge of Donegal.