Fermanagh half-back Ryan McCluskey has labelled Jim McGuinness “manipulative” and “disrespectful” to the people of his county.
Earlier this month, former Donegal manager McGuinness used his column in The Irish Times to criticise Fermanagh and their fans for appearing to revel in defeat to Dublin.
After suffering a semi-final defeat to Monaghan in the Ulster Championship, the Ernesiders embarked on a memorable run to the All-Ireland quarter-finals via the qualifiers.
They were stopped in their tracks by Dublin, but the county took the defeat with a great deal of grace, although McGuinness said the jubilant attitude of the players and fans after the loss was “eerie” and “genuinely disturbing.”
Fermanagh talisman McCluskey has now bit back at his former opponent, who he admits do not get along, with a sound reasoning for the apparent euphoria on the GAA Scores podcast.
He said: “Me and Mr McGuinness have had a few run-ins on the pitch and we wouldn’t really have seen eye to eye. So when he started talking about this, I was really, really annoyed, and also with the whole media slant afterwards.
“For a county like ourselves to get back on the road to recovery and make progress, it was a big thing for us. It’s been a long time since we were in a quarter-final and he was talking about the players celebrating defeat – that was a very hurting changing room back there.”
McCluskey went on to reveal that a series of notable deaths within the county created a lot of “doom and gloom off the pitch,” stating it “was nice to put a bit of pride back into the jersey.”
He added: “That had all been overlooked in the remarks, not just by Mr McGuinness, but by a lot of people in the media who maybe just looked at the result and said ‘we’ll just say something that’s going to cause a bit of controversy’.
“He’s an educated man, he’s obviously excellent at what he does but I think in this case he’s been very manipulative and very disrespectful to the people in our county.” Listen to the podcast in full below.