Search icon


06th Sep 2023

Pat Spillane believes Jim McGuinness will struggle to replicate past success

Lee Costello

“I doubt if Donegal can achieve that edge in fitness over their rivals ever again.”

Pat Spillane believes that Jim McGuinness could struggle to replicate the success that he had achieved during his first stint as Donegal manager.

McGuinness first took the job in 2011 and because of the unconditional buy-in that he got from the players, he was able to turn them into mentality monsters who were afraid of no one and were full of self belief.

The former Celtic performance coach also put them through a furious fitness regime that was borderline cruel, but turned them into incredible athletes that could run all day.

With this new mentality, running power, and disciplined style of play, they launched an attack on the All-Ireland that saw them win it in 2012, along with three Ulster titles and a runners up medal in 2014.

However, former RTE pundit Spillane, thinks that McGuinness will struggle to replicate this success for one key reason.

“Now the big question is, will he do it a second time for Donegal. Firstly, let us look at how he achieved that All-Ireland win in 2012,” Spillane wrote in his Sunday World column.

Jim McGuinness

“He got total buy-in from the players. Essentially they handed over their entire lives to Donegal football. As a result they were the fittest team in the country by the time the 2012 season rolled around.

“I doubt if Donegal can achieve that edge in fitness over their rivals ever again.

“Strength and conditioning programmes are now so well developed in almost every county that it is virtually impossible for one team to steal a march on the opposition, particularly at the top end of the game.

“By the time the key matches in the championship roll around there is not much difference in the fitness levels of the contenders.”

Jim McGuinness

Some will argue that it wasn’t just about the fitness, but how the team were able to bond over these horror sessions when the players pushed their body to the limit.

There are few things that can bring a team together better than overcoming a period of huge tribulation, and that confidence that McGuinness was able to install, was also down to his fitness work.

When you know that you have put the hard work in, then you develop a deep sense of self belief. Instead of going into games hoping that you can win, you fully believe that you deserve to win, because you know that the miles have been run, the tank is filled, and you’re ready.

The biggest attribute that McGuinness brings to a team, isn’t making the players fitter than others, it’s making them psychologically superior.

The mentality that Donegal will develop over the next season or so will be the biggest change, and it will also be what makes them so dangerous.

Related links:

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?