Donegal gaffer Jim McGuinness spends 40 hours a week training All-Ireland team
Driven boss says “every win is a precious thing” and thinks they’re in with a chance of bringing Sam Maguire cup home
For the first time in 20 years Donegal will play in the All-Ireland final on Sunday at Croke Park in Dublin. The dream is to take the Sam Maguire cup back to the northwest of Ireland with the success of the team thus far it seems that Jim McGuinness and the boys could be in with a chance.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie gaffer Jim McGuinness is confident of this team on its way to the All-Ireland but he still relishes every win, whether it’s a final game of not.
McGuinness said “Everything I have ever won in my life has meant a huge amount to me.
“Like, our club won an intermediate championship, which would not mean a lot of things to people in this room but that means everything to me because it was an achievement, it was the first championship our club had ever won.
“It was the same when we won the senior championship, the Sigerson, they are all part of your football career, they are all very precious things.
“The best experience I ever had coaching was in Limavady College when there was no Gaelic football team when I went up there and I had to try and get a team together, and we won the league in the first year, won a championship in the second year and there was a young lad that never played the game before and he came on in the final in the second year for about five minutes and he won the ball, dropped the ball. Then a couple of minutes after that he won the ball again, slipped it to someone else who kicked it over the bar. That was the best buzz I ever got out of football coaching, because this young fella never set foot on a pitch before and all of a sudden, on a very small level, he was part of a winning team and his face, and his team-mates face looking at him, was absolutely unbelievable after the game.
“Things like that there, it is not all about the pomp of it. It is a huge game, it is the All-Ireland final but it is those small things… sometimes you see things at training and you think that you are in a very privileged position.”
McGuinness is driven but he admits his tough role takes its toll.
He said “It is a demanding job now and to try and be freed up to do it to the best of your ability, you need people giving you that opportunity and sometimes it is not that easy walking out the door when you have three kids under five, four nights a week. You are questioning yourself sometimes, particularly when it’s not going well but you just hope that days like Ulster finals and All-Ireland finals can balance that whole thing.
“It’s more than 40 hours a week. And that doesn’t matter if you are in an All-Ireland final or with a Division 4 team, it’s the same hours I would imagine. You have to be interacting with the players, the support team. Donegal is a big county, it takes us an hour to get to training, you are there an hour before training. We normally train for two hours, contrary to the press, not six. You have an hour after training and an hour home, so that’s six hours and that’s four nights a week.
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