As we bade farewell to the All Ireland football championship of 2014, we also said adios to one of the most influential managers the game has ever seen, writes Ashling Dalton.
Jim McGuinness’ Olympic cycle reign has been proven a success, with Donegal winning their second ever title in 2012 being his biggest achievement.
So while Jimmy won’t be winning be matches, he has left a massive impact on the county to ensure Donegal WILL be winning matches in the near future. Here are three things Donegal can take from his historic reign:
Jim McGuiness has instilled an absolute belief in his players that they can achieve any title available to them, which was proven in 2012 and this year against Dublin. The older players such as Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden can further instill that same belief in the younger players that can only be beneficial in the years to come.
This has been a hallmark of McGuiness’ reign, that he could construct a gameplan that could win All Irelands and was also beable to adapt to his oppositon.
It might not have been nice to look at, but it was effective, and up until they met Kerry in this year’s final it was working as well as ever. Whoever takes over the Donegal hotseat will bring his own aesthetic but the ability of the Donegal players to do whatever is asked of them can only be a positive.
3.A Northern light?
We had Tyrone and Armagh achieve football’s holy grail in the noughties which gave the other Ulster counties hope that they can achieve the same but it has to be said that in the Tens, it was Donegal who have taken on that mantle.
Not only did they win the All Ireland in 2012 but they have maintained a competitive edge that is exemplary to all their neighbours.
There is so much more to Jim McGuiness’ time in Donegal but it is safe to say that the mark he has left on Donegal football will still be evident 10 years from now.
Ashling Dalton, Pundit Arena.