McGuinness defends Donegal style as they mount All-Ireland challenge

It may be derided but the manager of the side that has claimed the last two Ulster titles is perfectly happy with the football philosophy of his team as they gear up for Sunday week’s All-Ireland semi-final.

Paul Galvin is challenged by Donegal players during the All-Ireland semi-final.
Paul Galvin is challenged by Donegal players during the All-Ireland semi-final.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

DONEGAL BOSS JIMMY McGuinness is adamant that his side cannot be selective when it comes to what means to choosing what methods they will employ to try to win an All-Ireland title.

Donegal’s defensive nature has come under the microscope over the past two seasons and is reflective of a growing trend across the country. Kerry attacker Darran O’Sullivan spoke on Tuesday about his belief that ‘the best footballers are no longer the best players’ but in the aftermath of his county’s defeat to Donegal in the All-Ireland quarter-final, he did stress that he was not criticizing the Ulster champions and praised their fitness levels.

Despite all the debate about their style, McGuinness insists his Donegal players focus is solely trained on trying to attain an All-Ireland title.

“It is every man for himself. What we are trying to do is win an All-Ireland. Darran is in a position where he has won ones and lost ones so he can pick and choose how he loses them. We are just trying to win one. Really that is where our focus is going to lie.

“I don’t care how we win it. If we can win it, it would be absolutely unbelievable for that group of players. They have worked very hard these last two years, they have put huge effort into their football careers. They have sacrificed other things in their life and thankfully they have got two Ulster medals out of it so far and a National league medal which is a good return for them.

“We have all been watching the Olympics for the past two weeks and Mo Farah has been talking about 120 miles for the last 10 years and Katie Taylor, before the semi-final, interviewed as an 11-year-old, saying she wanted to win an Olympic gold medal. Our lads have been watching All-Ireland finals since they have been four or five and they have watched  the likes of Kerry, Cork and Dublin win All-Irelands. They are 70 minutes away from having that chance now if they can take the opportunity.”

Defender Eamonn McGee signs from the same hymn sheet as his manager.

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“We tried to do it for years, after I came into the squad. Some days we could go toe to toe with them, and some days it was just very, very frustrating. Listen, we could chat to you all night and we’d go around the barn, talk until the morning, about traditional against the modern. It’s people’s own opinion.

“I’m happy enough. I’ve two Ulster medals, and we’re competing with the way we’re going now. This is the way the modern game is. Every team is playing it, like. Kerry are playing it. You just have to accept the fact. It will probably be in another ten or twenty years it will be a totally different thing. We’ll all be giving out about this new thing that’s come out. This evolves the game.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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