Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY – Donegal football is at a critical juncture

LAST weekend turned out to be a disappointing outing for Donegal in this year‘s championship opener.

Going to the game, although everything has been stacked against us over the last number of weeks, I still thought that maybe we had enough in the tank to pull a result of the fire.

A result in Newry, in my opinion, would have kick-started the season and given the squad confidence that would help them massively, but it wasn’t to be.

When you analyse the game, Donegal had enough possession and enough opportunities to win any game. We had 34 shots at goal, shooting 14 wides and we gave away 1-5 by way of turnovers. Those kind of stats just won’t cut it at this level.

It’s really difficult to see where all the lads go from here because when you look at the performance as a whole, we just lacked belief and hunger. These are two things that are really hard to get back into any team once it has gone.

I do feel for the players and particularly management at this moment in time because, with everything going against you and indeed people pulling against you, you are fighting a losing battle.

Aidan and Paddy are two good GAA men and I’m sure they will carry the job out to the best of their abilities for the remainder of the season, but it must be an absolute nightmare to be working in that capacity in this county at the minute.

I think the two lads deserve great credit for staying on and trying to steady the ship this year, but I’ve gone on record before stating that if it was me I would be out the door before the target turns to my back.

Where do we go now? We are obviously still in the championship, but let’s be brutally honest. I don’t think anybody really believes that we have what it takes at this moment in time to go deep into the summer so therefore plans must be put in place as to where we go from here.

We have a lot of ex-players who chose to get involved in coaching after playing, so now I will be asking those lads to step up to the plate and help out when your county needs you most.

We do not need people to sit on the fence and wait for a good team to come along before they throw their hat in the ring.

We need a number of these people to come together here and try to steady the ship and put a long-term plan in place in order to get Donegal football back to the top table once again.

The people I am talking about here are the likes of Jim McGuinness who is currently coaching Down and Karl Lacey who was heading up the Academy.

Rory Kavanagh is doing a good job with St Eunan’s and the likes of Mark McHugh and perhaps a Colm McFadden who are doing good work with Roscommon and Sligo respectively.

These type of people need to sit down and come up with some sort of management structure that will take us forward and help get the best out of what we have here at the minute.

We are at the crossroads now and there is no time to wait anymore, so I urge anyone that has chosen to go down the coaching route to put your hand up and help your county when you are needed most.

This is a critical juncture in terms of Donegal senior football and it must be led from the front. Whatever issues anyone has with the County Board or anyone else, let’s put all that aside, get into one room, trash it out and try and move forward.

It’s for the good of Donegal football and for all the young lads that are coming up through the ranks so that there’s something that they want to be part of instead of opting out.

In terms of this year, we need the draw to be kind to us so that hopefully we can get a few decent performances together and try and build on that for next year.

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