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17th Aug 2023

Speculation rife that Jim McGuinness could return to Donegal hotseat

Niall McIntyre

There is speculation in Donegal that Jim McGuinness could be set for a sensational return to the county’s hot-seat.

SportsJOE have contacted the Donegal county board for comment and while they have labelled the McGuinness links as ‘just rumours’ at this stage, there are reports in the Irish Independent that he is the top target on the list of those tasked with finding a new manager.

The year just gone was a turbulent one for the county.

As well as losing respected academy coach Karl Lacey, which had the knock-on effect of upsetting underage structures in the county, their senior footballers also had a very poor year.

Paddy Carr’s tenure as manager started brightly with a win over Kerry in the League but he was gone a short while later in March, before the championship had even started.

His assistant, the former Armagh footballer Aidan O’Rourke stepped up to fill the breach but after disappointing championship campaign that culminated in a loss to Tyrone, he has since moved on.

Which brings us to Jim McGuinness, who is seen as something of a messiah in the county. The Donegal county board told us this morning that the appointment of a new manager rests in the hands of a committee who have been entrusted with finding the right person.

“We have heard the rumours that are doing the rounds but until the committee make their decision, everything else is just rumours at this stage,” said a spokesperson.

The Naomh Conaill men won an All-Ireland with Donegal as a player before going onto have a sensational stint as manager between 2010 and 2014.

It is widely regarded that he almost single-handedly revolutionised the game with the tactics that helped Donegal win the All-Ireland SFC in 2012, their first in 20 years.

In the mean-time, McGuinness has, in the main, kept his powder dry from a Gaelic football perspective. He has instead focused on soccer coaching, a venture that took him from Celtic to Beijing to Charlotte and back to Derry.

And now it looks like he may be on his way back to Donegal.

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Donegal GAA