BY CHRIS MCNULTY
THE Donegal County Board is ‘hopeful’ that Jim McGuinness and his management team will remain in situ with the Donegal senior football team.
In the wake of Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Mayo at Croke Park, speculation was rife on the future of the 2012 All-Ireland winning manager McGuinness.
The Glenties man said in his post-match press conference that he would take ‘two to three weeks’ to appraise the situation before making a determination on whether or not to continue.
He will meet representatives of the County Board in the coming weeks to discuss and review 2013 and the management team is due to deliver a post-Championship report to delegates at next month’s county committee meeting, on Monday September 2nd.
While there has been intense speculation this week, the County Board has appealed for some breathing space to be afforded to McGuinness as he reflects on last Sunday’s defeat.
“The County Board is very thankful for all that they have achieved and I would urge people to give Jim McGuinness, his management team and the players time to reflect and get a break away from it all,” the Donegal Co Secretary Aodh Máirtín Ó Fearraigh told the Donegal News.
McGuinness has completed year three of what is a four-year term with Donegal. While he will not wish to bow out on a note such as Sunday’s 16-point loss, his personal circumstances will also be closely weighed up.
His wife, Yvonne, is expecting twins and the couple already have three young children while Jim has, for the last ten months, been dividing his time between Donegal and Glasgow, where he works as a Performance Consultant with Celtic FC.
McGuinness could have reached a decision by the time he is set to address club delegates in September.
The Co Board is retaining a positive outlook.
Mr Ó Fearraigh said: “There is a year left to run on the term. There has been a lot achieved in the three years and I think there is more to come from them.
“We have had three fabulous years with this management team and, absolutely, we would like them to see out the remaining year of the term. Jim and Rory have been fabulous to deal with and they have one of the most professional set-ups in the country.
“We would be very hopeful that they will continue.
“Now is not the time to make decisions, after a defeat, but when they come back refreshed in a few weeks’ time hopefully the news will be positive.”
It is believed that there are a number of issues that the management wish to thrash out. Chief among them is likely to be the scheduling of three rounds of the Donegal senior football championship in June, which the management have already spoken out against. There are a number of items that have dissatisfied the management, but none of them insurmountable.
McGuinness will also have close talks with his players. This week, Frank McGlynn dispelled rumours that he was quitting while Colm McFadden confirmed his desire to stay on when he spoke on Sunday.
McGuinness was noncommittal when he spoke on Sunday. He said: “We’ve to decide what’s the best way forward in terms of the outcome of the analysis. That’s the same every single season.
“I won’t be drawn into a ‘will he, won’t he’ situation. I know there’s a lot going on and a lot to get a handle on.”
Ciara Hegarty – a current All-Star – believes that Donegal are capable of building up a head of steam...