It seems Donegal’s All Ireland winning manager, Jim McGuinness has yet to decide whether to remain in the job or not.
It will be an agonising choice. McGuinness is a proud Donegal man and has transformed the fortunes of his native county. From perennial under-achievers they have become the standard-bearers for the modern game, the model upon which every county now bases their plan. Make no mistake about it, McGuinness has changed the way gaelic football is played.
The irony though is that he did that by introducing a thoroughly professional approach to an amateur sport. And what made his team fail this season is the same things which may force him to walk away from Donegal. Bottom line, there is only so long you can ‘pretend’ at professionalism while trying to combine the outside workload that goes with being an amateur sports person.
Sooner or later you’re body will tell you it cannot continue. Not always directly (especially if you are as committed and dedicated as the Donegal manager and his players) but even subconsciously, performance levels drop ever so slightly and that’s when those racing behind suddenly catch up as they did this season. I am not sure he will be able to accept those boundaries.
McGuinness’ own in-depth analysis of his players will have told him they couldn’t continue at the intensity they had trained and played at for the two previous years. However, with his demanding, full-time role at Celtic, his own statistics may be telling himself something similar and from a GAA perspective, it is a shame the organisation has to lose people of his ability.