THE main talking point this week is obviously Jim McGuinness’s return to the Donegal hot seat. Considering his recent involvement with Down and offer of support role with Donegal GAA last year, the appetite was certainly there on his side.
You have to admire him in his pursuit of a career as a professional football coach, but timing is everything and right now McGuinness see’s the Donegal manager position as an opportunity too good to turn down.
He will be aware of the talent or potential within the county plus the barriers which may have prevented better performances and results over the last few seasons. No doubt these issues have been addressed in recent weeks to ensure McGuinness was happy to take up the role.
In his previous role as Sky Sports analyst, you got an insight into his tactical knowledge, passion for football and ability to communicate with detail but more importantly with clarity. Players and supporters alike will certainly row in behind this new project.
Similar to Dublin this year, operating in Division Two will provide some breathing space but also an opportunity to improve and achieve in the short term. It is similar to how it was during his first reign as manager.
The present game of football might not be everyone’s cup of tea but different teams bring different tactical challenges which the best sides overcome. It will be interesting what approach the Donegal 2024 version will bring. What is certain is that they will be well prepared.
It felt strange a few weeks ago with the sudden stop to the inter-county calendar until January. You had gotten used to the anticipation of big games every weekend and you can understand some of the criticism around the early finish.
There is a little adjustment period but once a few weeks of club championship have been completed, I think many are happy that the club championship is the main focus now. Club players enjoy playing in the summer months and many county players enjoy playing with their club at this time of year.
It is not perfect though as in Cork, Glen Rovers lost round one and two group games in the space of a week and suddenly they were out of the senior hurling championship. It seems that there is a little imbalance between extended pre-season plus league campaign and the main event, the championship.
Playing at inter-county has never been more demanding. The league has never held as much value and with the season shorter than ever, there really is a condensed schedule.
Back in my time playing inter-county, you still had long campaigns if you were successful but now the level of preparation and playing is more intense.
One playing season rolls into another, and you have to admire the likes of Derry’s Conor Glass and Kerry’s Clifford brothers for their ability to perform at high level over a long period for both club county. Not every player is capable of this.
Once a few split seasons have been completed it will be interesting to see though will there be an increase in injuries due to more players having longer seasons.
Alternatively you may have more players looking to take a year out and travel as high performance and preparation over a sustained period takes its toll. No doubt this will happen more with counties with less chance of success rather than a Kerry or Dublin. Paudie KissanePerformance Coachinfo@pkperformance.ie0877600658