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Karl Lacey an 'excellent choice' for new Donegal backroom team: McEniff

The recently retired defender is reported to be joining the Donegal backroom team in the coming days.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FORMER DONEGAL BOSS Brian McEniff has backed Karl Lacey to make a strong impact with the Donegal footballers, following local reports that the Four Masters man is set to return to the squad in a coaching capacity.

Lacey announced his retirement from inter-county football in August, following a stellar 14-year career which yielded four All-Stars as well as the Footballer of the Year award.

He also made 65 championship appearances, a record he shares with fellow Donegal great Christy Toye.

The 2012 All-Ireland winner worked as a strength and conditioning coach with the county under-age development squads in recent years, and now looks set to link up with newly appointed Donegal manager Declan Bonner.

McEniff handed Lacey his inter-county debut in 2004, and he believes the pair could work well together in the new Donegal set-up.

Karl Lacey is an excellent choice by Declan Bonner for his backroom staff,” he told The42.

“I brought Karl into the Donegal set-up just out of the minors. Even from an early stage, you could see the capacity that he had to understand the game, read the game and contribute.

“He’s just a hell of a good reader of the game and a good guy as well. He’s an excellent choice for Declan, they’ll do very well together.

They would know each other very well from their involvement in Donegal for a lot of years. They’re a good combination, there’s no doubt about that. I’m looking forward to seeing the new backroom staff.”

McEniff was impressed with Lacey’s application from the early days of his introduction to the senior ranks, and predicted that the defender would go on to enjoy a great career.

His ability to excel in several positions on the pitch, coupled with his knowledge of the local football scene in Donegal, are traits that McEniff expects to see Lacey bring to his new role.

“He could play anywhere, it was in his nature. He has a lot of strings to his bow and he has the experience of winning an All-Ireland in 2012.

“Donegal have been at the top table for around seven years and even if you go back before that, he won a National League a couple of years before that, so he’s a long time around.

He has a huge amount of experience and knows Donegal football very well, plus, he knows all the young lads in the squad currently.

“I knew he had all the capabilities to be a topclass footballer. And on top of that, he’s just a good guy, he’s well grounded lad which is important as well. And he’ll bring that into the management.”

Remarking on Lacey’s motivation for making such a swift return to the Donegal fold, McEniff added:

“Well, it’s in the blood. It doesn’t go away when you play county football, it’ll always be there. It’s in his genes.”

Bonner, who will be in charge of Donegal on a three-year term, will put the names of his backroom staff to a county committee meeting on Monday for ratification.

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