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15th Jan 2018

Paul McGinley reveals why ex-Donegal boss Jim McGuinness isn’t coming back to Gaelic football

Matthew Gault

The 2014 Ryder Cup captain has been in contact with the former Donegal manager recently.

Paul McGinley believes that Jim McGuinness has interesting plans for his future, but they do not involve a return to Gaelic football.

McGuinness, who memorably managed Donegal to the 2012 All-Ireland title, recently left his role as the assistant manager to Roger Schmidt at Beijing Sinobo Guoa. The 45-year-old has spent seven months working alongside the former Bayer Leverkusen coach but decided to end his time in China with his wife and six children still based in Glasgow.

While Gaelic football has missed the presence of the Glenties man on the sideline, McGinley, who is a close friend of McGuinness’, says he is fully committed to a career in professional football. Speaking at the GAA Games Development Conference in Croke Park on behalf of Sky Sports on Saturday, McGinley said:

“I spoke to him last week. Jim’s okay. He’s on a plan. A lot of things are confidential that I can’t talk about but he’s on a plan. He’s got one year to go before he’s fully qualified and he’s flying through his exams and doing great.

“He’s learning everywhere, he’s going to conferences all around Europe. (He has) a big connection obviously with Celtic. Don’t worry about Jim McGuinness. He’s not coming back to the GAA, put it that way. The Dubs can take a big, deep breath!

“I think he’s a year away from (getting his Uefa Pro License). He’s been flying through his exams, he’s on a good path. It’s tough, he’s basically going back to school and re-learning.

“It’s not easy and he has lots of kids and family commitments. His family are living over in Glasgow now, so it’s tough, it’s not easy for him. But he’s got a lot of ambition, a lot of determination.”

McGinley, who guided Europe to a comprehensive victory over the USA at Gleneagles in 2014, met McGuinness through his father, who played football for Donegal between 1959 and 1961.

When McGinley was appointed Ryder Cup captain back in 2013, he went to McGuinness for advice on leadership and building a team.

“One of the main principles in what I did in the Ryder Cup captaincy was about the individual. I’m always interested to hear GAA managers talk about the team and I’m always interested to hear the debate that you’ve always got to do it for your team-mates, that it’s all about the team. I wouldn’t be in that place.

“I think the role of the individual is underplayed in the importance of success in sport, and in leadership.

McGinley, who was forced to give up on a career in Gaelic football after seriously injuring his knee aged 19, invited both McGuinness and Dublin manager, Jim Gavin, to Gleneagles on the week of the Ryder Cup, and also spoke of the contrast between the two men.

“Yeah, there are similarities, but there’s more emotion in Jim McGuinness.”

“Jim Gavin is like a pilot. He’s trained as a pilot, he’s trained as an army man, and to a large extent you’ve got to leave your emotion aside.

“I believe the criticism he got about not having emotion…on one side I can understand that but on the other side I know from myself that any time I’ve been a captain I’ve made a conscious effort to leave that emotion to the side because how can you make a really cold, clinical decision if you’re really getting emotional.

“You’ve got to be some way detached and it’s a mindset. Tiger Woods talked a lot about lowering his heartbeat when he was at his best.

“And if he did get excited the first thing was to try to lower his heartbeat again because he couldn’t make decisions if emotion was driving him.”

Irish golfer and former Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley was at Croke Park at the weekend to discuss the importance of teamwork at the GAA Games Development Conference in partnership with Sky Sports.