JIM McGuinness says he has been ‘in and out’ with the Donegal senior football squad in recent years.
The 2012 All-Ireland winning manager is to return to Sky Sports as a GAA analyst from this weekend and he made the comment while speaking to Inside The Game.
The Glenties native is back living in Ireland having had a spell as head coach of America-based soccer team Charlotte Independence cut short.
The rumour mill went into overdrive a couple of weeks ago when he was filmed involved in a training session with the Galway footballers, who are managed by McGuinness’s former college mate Pádraic Joyce.
McGuinness has poured cold water on the notion that he could be involved with the Tribesmen for the 2020 Championship.
“To answer the question, I’m not involved with Galway,” McGuinness said. “I’m a good friend with Pádraic, we spent a couple of years together down in Tralee. He’s a really good fella, he’s a really good football guy.
“We’ve always stayed in contact and he asked me to come down and do a session. I was delighted to do that for him, and that really was it.
“If he wanted to do something again, I’ve been in and out with Donegal any chance I’ve had as well.
“So that’s all there was to it. I think it was just the fact that somebody had filmed it made it a bigger story than it was.”
The Donegal reference will certainly perk the ears of Donegal fans.
In the summer of 2018, McGuinness was pictured speaking to Donegal manager Declan Bonner and selector Paul McGonigle in a Belfast hotel.
At the time, McGuinness was asked about his role, but he simply said: “No, no coaching sessions.”
Further pushed on whether he had given a talk to the Donegal squad, he responded with a smile: “No coaching sessions.”
Since leaving the Donegal hot seat after the 2014 All-Ireland final, McGuinness continued to work with Celtic FC – who he joined in 2012 weeks after guiding Donegal to Sam Maguire – before becoming assistant coach as Beijing Sinobo Guoan.
He managed Charlotte Independence briefly in 2019, but his term there came to an end after winning just once in 14 USL Championship games.
McGuinness returns to Sky Sports as an analyst for Saturday’s Ulster SFC clash between Monaghan and Cavan.