Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Two sides to Donegal Academy saga

TO be honest, this is a subject that I had no intention of voicing my opinion on for a number of reasons.

The whole coaching fallout continues to ramble on here in Donegal and at the stage we’re just embarrassing ourselves more and more by the day.

I had no intention of commenting on this topic because simply I didn’t really know either side of the story so therefore it was none of my business.

I took the conscious decision when I finished playing that I wouldn’t get involved with any coaching or any management at county level for two reasons.

Number one, I had no real interest in it and, number two, any free time I had I wanted to give it back to the club, coaching at underage or any level that I was needed at.

Over the last few weeks, I have heard bits and pieces from both camps and to be honest both camps have made mistakes here.

Let me start off by saying that, by all accounts, Karl Lacy was beginning to put a top class structure in place for underage county teams that would have brought us on par and perhaps ahead of the top counties in country. I don’t think there is any denying that.

The issue here seems to be the lack of transparency and perhaps cooperation between the academy and the county board and a lot of this could have been avoided.

I read the piece in the Irish News last week by Cahair O’Kane which gave a detailed breakdown of what had happened over the course of the last few years.

From someone on the outside looking in, the article seemed to weigh heavily on Karl Lacey’s side of the argument and possibly didn’t give the full picture.

There are a lot of things from Karl’s point of view that are correct and perhaps he felt his vision wasn’t shared by members of the county board.

On the other hand, some information was hard to get for the county board and you just really can’t have that at any level in any organisation.

I’m led to believe that one of the massive stumbling blocks was obviously the cost that would be attached to putting the structures in place with €300,000 spent last year. Obviously, with that sort of expense then the county board are going to have an issue with that.

There could and should have been ways around that if that was the issue.

If I was leading up the academy with this vision and needed massive funds the county board couldn’t afford and that was the stumbling block then I’m sure a group of individuals could’ve been brought together to source funds from overseas etc to fund this project so that it wouldn’t impact on the county boards finances.

Small things like that can be ironed out but for that to happen you must have full transparency.

The issues the county board had didn’t have anything to do with the on-field activity or how the coaching was being done.

I’m led to believe they were more than pleased with that bit. The concerns they had was more to do with the actual running of the academy in terms of crucial details and information.

There was an alarming claim last week that when the county board asked who the coaches were in each of the academy teams they were denied access and told that information was stored in a laptop, somewhere in an office.

I mean, if that was indeed true, is there any wonder heads rolled when the head of the organisation hasn’t been told who is actually coaching the teams.

So, therefore a lot of blame, like I said, is shared between both parties in this unfortunate fallout.

I’m not sure at this stage if anything can be salvaged for the good of Donegal football and at the end of the day this is why all of these people are involved in the roles that they are in.

So, could they not just sit around the table and accept responsibility for the mistakes they made? It’s obvious that mistakes were made on both sides, so let’s just be man enough to admit them and try and move on for the good of Donegal GAA.

On the pitch this weekend there is another massive game for the Donegal seniors when they take on Mayo in Ballybofey on Sunday.

This will obviously be a massive task given how Mayo are playing but our record against Mayo at home over the last 20 odd years is actually excellent so let’s hope for more of that come the weekend.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW