Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has said he will not accept coming out second best against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.
The Glenties man set out his stall at a press conference in Letterkenny today.
by Rachel McLaughlin
With his captain Michael Murphy by his side, McGuinness spoke for 40 minutes about his thoughts on the clash against the current All-Ireland champions.
He said the management team are in the midst of forming a game plan to see off Dublin and battle tactics are yet to be cemented.
But McGuinness spoke with clarity and concentration when he said “I definitely don’t want to be associated with being a gallant loser.”
The even better news coming form today’s press conference is that Karl Lacey has shown a remarkable recovery from injury which threatened his place in the starting line-up for the August 31st clash.
McGuinness revealed Lacey, who damaged his hamstring in the match against Armagh, has made a good recovery.
He trained this morning with the medical team and will be back to training with the Donegal squad on Tuesday night. McGuiness said that they had feared the worst, but Lacey’s recovery has been great and he has regained full strength.
He added that his entire team are now focused on the job in hand and are in a much better position than they were last year.
“We’re 70 minutes from the All-Ireland final, and we’ve got to try and do everything in our power to be in that final, and that’s the approach we’ll be taking to the game,” he said.
Participation at training is at 93%, while it was at approx. 40% in 2013, he added.
“We’ve a lot of work done, they (the players) have been very focused, and as we sit here today we have a fully-fit, healthy squad and we’re looking forward to the game.”
Despite Donegal’s narrow win over Armagh in the quarter-final on the 9th of August, their performance was disappointing, McGuinness said. “We have levels and we have standards, and a lot of the things that we’re normally good at, we weren’t.”
McGuiness put last week’s unimpressive performance down to unforced errors and poor decision making. However he maintained that the team have played to a consistently-high level throughout the rest of the season.
The odds are firmly in Dublin’s favour, and McGuiness is all too aware of this. He gave a detailed analysis of the opposition’s game that proved just how much of a threat the Dublin team presents.
“They’re very fit, they’re very strong, they’re well-organised and they’ve got their system now well down the track in terms of their development.”
“You can see the patterns, you can what they’re doing and the support play and it’s really really impressive.”
All things considered, McGuinness said that Donegal are happy with their level of athleticism and hope they can match Jim Gavin’s side.
How he plans to avoid defeat, though, will not be revealed until the big day.