Former Meath great Liam Hayes said Jim McGuinness should have formed a human barrier with his players to stop Mark McHugh getting on a flight to New York.
The Kilcar playmaker left for the US this week as Donegal take on Antrim in the Ulster semi-final.
Hayes expects Donegal to overcome Antrim but they are a pale shadow of the team which won the 2012 All-Ireland without McHugh.
“The flight of Mark McHugh to New York tells a story which is deafening – even for those men housed in the cement like bunker of the Donegal dressing room.
“That the heartbeat of the Donegal’s All-Ireland winning team of 18 months ago would prefer to wear the yellow and gold in New York – where he is representing another Donegal team – and would get on a flight the week of the county’s second championship outing is bizarre.
“And that nobody (but mainly manager Jim McGuinness) did not form a human barrier at the departure gate was unforgiveable.
“Donegal will beat Antrim and they will appear not to miss McHugh, but by taking the field without him they are admitting to their rivals that they are accepting their role as a shadow of the team that the 2012 All-Ireland title,” claims Hayes.