It's no secret that when Jim Mc Guinness was selected as the Donegal Senior Football Team Manager in July 2010, we were at one of our lowest ebbs ever in our history. What has been achieved in the past four years can only be described as remarkable.
When Jim informed us on Friday night of his decision not to continue as Senor Football Team Manager, it was one of shock initially but over the past two days there has been a realisation that it shouldn't have been a total surprise. Jim has given 5 years of total commitment and dedication to Donegal football including his very successful year with the Under 21's. Jim is a special talent with a particular rare gift in inspiring those around him.
Not alone did he inspire a special group of players to 3 x Ulster Senior Football Championship titles and our 2nd All-Ireland title in the space of 4 years, he also inspired the people of the county to believe that they can achieve anything they wanted with the right application to the task and hard work. Two example of this that are widely accepted is that he has inspired people to get back into Education and also has had a very positive effect on people with Mental Health issues.
One quote that I saw in recent days that has stuck with me is "Jim won many matches but he also won the hearts and minds of the people of Donegal". While Jim is always quick to point out it was the players who won the matches, we must acknowledge that it was Jim who created the environment for those players to prepare meticulously and then deliver on their potential in the way they have done so in the past 4 years.
He has left a tremendous legacy though in many ways:
1. He has created an interest in Gaelic Football and the GAA in general in people in this county that never previously had an interest.
2. He left the people of the county with so many great memories.
3. He re-instilled a great pride in the Donegal people at home and abroad.
4. He has inspired the next few generations of players, both boys and girls.
5. He has created the template and approach that the players of the future know that they must aspire to if they want to be successful and maximise their potential.
6. He has been the most successful manager in our history.
7. We will reap the benefits of the seeds Jim has sown for many years to come.
The overwhelming sentiment of recent days has been of gratitude to Jim. There has been an avalanche of thanks for the memories and the enjoyment. We respect what has been a difficult decision for Jim and we wish him, Yvonne and their family good health and success in the future. I have no doubt that Jim will have a major contribution to make to Gaelic Football in the county again at some point in the future. This is the closing of a chapter in our history but there is still so much to be positive about.
1. We have a tremendous panel of Senior players at the moment who I have no doubt will reapply themselves again under the next Manager.
2. We have superb potential at Under 21, Minor and Development Squad level.
3. We have a fantastic Captain and Leader in Michael Murphy.
So on behalf of every underage and adult member of the GAA here in the county, every Donegal supporter in Ireland and across the globe, Jim I thank you for your massive contribution and commitment to your county over the past 5 years.
Seán Ó Duinnín,
CLG Dhún na nGall.