Celtic and/or Donegal: Jim McGuinness’s unenviable dilemma?

“Don’t do it Jim” is all I can hear in the back of my ancestral Donegal head. But it would be hard blame Jim McGuinness for taking a pretty cool package from Neil Lennon’s Celtic Football Club. It’s not as though he’s unqualified:

McGuinness, who has a masters in sports psychology, has struck up a good relationship with Celtic manager Neil Lennon, a former Armagh minor footballer, while the club’s administration are known to have been impressed by his achievements with Donegal.

He had made no secret of his willingness to work in professional sport and make the most of his qualifications.

It says a lot about Lennon’s ambition that he’s prepared to invest in his club, now their big rivals in Scottish football have been humbled. He has to in way, since the Scottish Premiership is down to the tune of six big matches every year.

There may be a strong personal friendship there, but McGuinness is an inspired pick. The ties are strong between Donegal (which even in the heart of the western Gaeltacht has always had a strong gra for the foreign code) and Celtic.

As a lifelong follower of the county’s GAA team, I would like to think (for the county’s sake as much as for McGuinness) it could come off.

Realistically though, split site working doesn’t have a great record, in football or anywhere else. And without a similar capacity building exercise in Donegal it’s hard to see how it can work for both sides.

I’ll await further news with interest…

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  • BarneyT

    I’m sure there was a time when the GAA would not have tolerated this. This may still have something to say, behind the guise of misplaced consideration for the newly crowned champions. I await the phrase “30 pieces of silver”….
    But…I suspect the climate has changed, after all soccer-ball has now graced the hallowed Croke Park turf.
    McGuiness is firstly a sportsman, so he already has more to offer that AVB for example. I see this Celtic move as a stepping stone towards a very lucrative soccer managerial post, as surely McGuiness will not be content in the long term in the background team.
    If Celtic progress further in the CL, perhaps Lennon may himself secure attention further south and move on as others have. McGuiness may then gently slip into control at Celtic. He now has an opportunity to shape the next generation of players which will only serve to feather his nest should he move into the top job.
    This is Donegal’s loss and it remains to be seen what damage it may have on the Donegal team. Ironically this move is likely to impact on their mental state or at least serve as an unwanted distraction. There are transferrable skills between the GAA code and Soccer-ball…so maybe in a few years we’ll see Big Murphy banging them in at Parkhead? That might not go down so well.

  • son of sam

    It would be surprising if the Donegal County Board had not some long term strategy in place assuming that Jim eventually departs the scene permanently.There could well be a role for Rory Gallagher(the present No 2).Having tasted success,Donegal will want to ensure that there is no return to the old carefree ways.I’m sure Mickey Harte is keeping an eye on developments in Tir Chonaill!

  • keano10

    I think it might work a little better than is presumed. According to RTE News, McGuinness will be paid an annual salary of 150,000 Euros for a 3 days per week part-time contract (On a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). On those days, his assistant Rory Gallagher will take over coaching duties. Therefore McGuinnes will be fully free for every weekend next year with his Donegal side.

    This is not just about McGuinness bringing his considerable abilities into a professional environment. He will also, presumably, pick-up an invaluable insight into the training and preparation mechanisms within a major professional football club. There are bound to be many things that he can bring back to Donegal to help with next years defence of Sam.

    For McGuinness this is a win-win outcome. I suspect that Donegal can only benefit from this also. They are lucky to still have him at the helm as his future clearly lies within a full-time professional set-up.

    Good luck to him. We will follow his progress keenly. It’s great to see a GAA manger being given this opportunuity.

  • BarneyT

    Interesting way to look at it Keano. Does this mean Donegal will be out of sight this coming season? Could it also not be argued that Donegal are presently operating as a professional outfit in terms of training, mental and physical health etc. hence the demand in the professional circuit for McGuiness.

    Then again, if the Donegal panel start rolling on the ground feining injury or start that hip twisting airplane armed warmup run (that 9 out of 10 times has me on my arse)…we’ll have to question what exactly he is importing.

  • BarneyT

    Snoop Dog, Beckham and Jim McGuiness! Throw in Neil Lennon and you have the Celtic Beatles.

    Snoop “Ringo” Dog
    Beckam McCartney going oooooohhhh!
    Neil (Lennon)
    McGuiness….with Snoop on the lead!

    Is this what McGuiness signed up for 🙂 He may have to “Drop it like its hot!”