Jim McGuinness returns to Donegal hotseat for second time

Jim McGuinness returns to Donegal hotseat for second time

Jim McGuinness has made a sensational return as the senior football manager for Donegal.

A selection committee was assembled with the task of identifying a successor to Aidan O’Rourke last week. O’Rourke took over from Paddy Carr in March but confirmed his departure in late June after Donegal's exit from the All-Ireland SFC to Tyrone.

The committee, consisting of five individuals, had been actively searching for a suitable candidate before the county club championship kicked off last weekend. According to reports, McGuinness was under consideration for a potential return to the role he last held back in 2014. His return has now been confirmed by Donegal.

Confirming the news, Donegal GAA said, "Donegal GAA is delighted to announce the appointment of Jim McGuinness as senior football team manager, following a meeting of Donegal County Committee."

Following his departure after Donegal's loss in the All-Ireland final to Kerry in 2014, McGuinness went on to explore opportunities in soccer, taking on roles at Celtic in Scotland and in various positions in China and the United States. He has since reconnected with the GAA community, participating in training sessions with Galway and Down.

Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness. Photo: INPHO.

McGuinness expressed his willingness to join forces with Karl Lacey and Rory Kavanagh as part of a management team for the 2023 season after Declan Bonner's departure, although this collaboration did not come to fruition.

Donegal chairman Fergus McGee also added that believes McGuinness can lead the county to their first Sam Maguire since 2012.

"This can unify and unite the whole county, bring us forward, bring us to a good new place where I think Donegal football should be.

"We'll be playing next year in Division 2, which is a good starting point for Jim coming in. He's got a good backroom team, and that'll build as time goes on. It's created excitement in the county. Tonight is the start of a new beginning, I believe, for Donegal.

"I think that going forward from here, we have a great opportunity to build on the success of having someone like Jim at the helm. We have the footballers – there's no question about that. I believe we have as good footballers as any other county.

"Proper management structures are what Jim will certainly put in place, and the backroom team surrounding that. We have to all work together and go forward together, so I'm looking forward to good times ahead."