GARY MCDAID described as ‘shabbiness’ the circumstances that have resulted in his departure as manager of the Donegal Under-20 footballers.
McDaid guided the Donegal U20s for the last two years and was of the belief that he had the option of a third year – which he planned to take.
Indeed, the Glenswilly man and his back room team had been actively working with the 2020 season in mind.
However, McDaid had an inkling that something was amiss on Monday-week past when he went to present his ‘review’.
On Thursday, it was confirmed to him that minutes of meetings did not record a third-year option and he would have to go through an interview process in order to continue in the role,
“I was very disappointed because have invested so much into it,” McDaid told Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub.
“When i went forward initially, I had a three-year proposal. It was coming back that we had a two-year deal with the option of a third after a review, but that doesn’t seem to be recorded in minutes.
“At the end of the day, my word and my integrity carries a lot for me. It’s shabbiness when it’s not recorded in the minutes.”
McDaid said he had thought long and hard about his options before deciding to step down from the job.
He said: “It lacks vision in what’s involved in a modern set-up. A lot of this is nurturing players. We knew we were doing things right. You have to invest in those outcomes and this is all a bit narrow-minded.
“We were very much invested in the long-term development to stay here and get the foundations in place.
“We had our fingers in a lot of pulses and we had a good idea of what was going on with players.
“I had a list of 60 players who were up to playing at that level, lads playing well for the club and lads who had played minor.”
McDaid had the likes of Eamon McGee, Brian Roper, Michael Boyle and Francie Friel on his backroom team.
He said: “It wasn’t for the lack of expertise. It was there and was possibly as good a group as you could gather. Our backroom team was second to none. The experience and quality of the people involved speaks for itself.
In 2018, Donegal stormed to a huge win over Cavan before coming to a shuddering halt with a defeat to Derry. In this year’s Ulster u20 Championship, Donegal lost to Fermanagh.
McDaid said: “We didn’t get the results that we wanted.
“Yes, it’s a results-based business, but we were building solid foundations. Players had developed so much. The Board didn’t talk to players and this shows little regard for what we were doing.
“We definitely should have won an Ulster Championship last year. We had a really good performance against Cavan, but Derry were sitting waiting on us. They nipped us by a point and we didn’t turn up. They went on to win Ulster. We only had Niall O’Donnell back from the seniors a week or two.
“This year, it was well-documented that the three ages available to us hadn’t won a game at minor level.
“But we had solid players. We didn’t have Oisin Gallen available – and what would he do at under-20 level? If he had played against Fermanagh, we’d have won the game, although it’s good for Oisin that he has developed and moved on.
“This year, Niall O’Donnell, Oisin Gallen, Jason McGee and Odhrán McFadden-Ferry, who all came through our squad, played so well for the Donegal senior team and that’s what we’re about.”
The next scheduled meeting of the Donegal county committee is not until Monday-week, October 7.Tags: