Jim McGuinness hot property – Brolly
MY 18-year-old niece who lives with us has no interest in Gaelic football, preferring teen vampire films.
When I arrived home from Croke Park on Sunday night, I was surprised when she said, “That Donegal manager is really hot.”
“Really?” I asked, taken aback.
“You bet he is,” my wife piped up, just a little too enthusiastically for my liking…
Jim is indeed the hottest property in Irish sport. Donegal’s progress has been an extraordinary personal triumph for the Sherlock Holmes of Gaelic football. Supremely logical, well educated in his chosen field, obsessive, competitive and clear minded, it is apparent that there is more to come. Interviewed after the game, he started with the following remark.
“In the first half we were a wee bit lethargic.”
Just think of that. He followed it up with this.
“It’s all about moving forward. There are two things at play here, and the first is to make every player we have better. Then we want to improve our goals as a team and that is our only focus. The players and squad can improve. That’s our challenge as coaches. The job is always in the future.”
It is clear that there are significant areas for improvement. At the moment, their defensive formation is catching teams on the hop.
Cork had spent the three weeks before the game playing controlled games where the A team played against 17 men and worked the ball quickly through the hands. Three weeks is hopelessly inadequate against Jim’s invention.
In essence, Cork were forced into doing something they’re not used to doing. Jim’s approach has made good, orthodox Gaelic football managers look like witless novices. The cute fox like John Brennan who manages men shrewdly and picks a good team.
The three time All-Ireland winning Kerry manager Jack O’Connor, who thought he had seen it all. The calm leader like Conor Counihan with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Cork football and an awareness of the sort of characters needed to win championship matches.
Jim has made an entire breed of GAA manager redundant. So, on Sunday, as I wrote beforehand, Cork were playing in a match they couldn’t win. The game, if you like, was rigged.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday August 30. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here