I have lots of words, words everyone has heard
before, good bad and indifferent. Words echoed about the man when he
changed how the game of Gaelic Football was played in the country,
words when it went wrong for him and when he was public enemy
number 1 in the eyes of people that supported beloved and historic
Yet a man I hold huge admiration for in Stephen Cluxton is lauded for
his influence on the game?
But then Jimmy’s approach was a little different to ”Cluckos” and the
dubs. Yet he had great rewards for his native county of Donegal. No
super power. No huge resources like the Dubs there.
Cluxton and his cohorts of great minds under Jim Gavins regime
decided they weren’t going to kick the ball long into the middle of the
field any longer. Net result = All Ireland title. Jimmy had a similar train of
thought and looked at the players at his disposal in Donegal. Please
dont get me wrong. Many if not all of his Donegal panel in their own
right were great footballers. Yet Jimmy knew they had to do things
differently! And by God did he. And did it work! Well I suggest that the
people reading this ask how many others have a Celtic cross on their
mantel piece in Donegal ……..not many… any way we are not here to
argue that today.
Jimmy came to Tralee in 1998 to study at then Tralee Institiute of
technology. But trust me we were far for TIT’s as many smart alec’s
referred to the college back then. Personally having been lucky enough
to be the first ever scorer of a goal at Sigerson Cup football level(V
Maynooth College 1996) for the college, the players that went through
the college still blows my mind.
Jimmy arrived in 1998, with many questioning why he would come all
the way to Tralee. Jimmy was ambitious. Jimmy was clever and more
importantly Jimmy knew he was a damn good footballer. Donegal at the
time I suppose were far from one the big boys so Jimmy went to the
Kingdom of football. Coincidence? Me thinks not. In 1992 Jimmy’s
Donegal won the Ulster Championship under Brian McEniff and a
scraggly haired Jimmy was watched on from the bench. But Jimmy had
plans. Jimmy loved winning matches.
And he proved this by managing and winning an All Ireland Football title
with his beloved Donegal.
But Jimmy wanted to really stretch the limits of his coaching and football
knowledge and rather than sit and bask in the glory of his own fame
Jimmy strived for more knowledge and hopefully(for him) more success.
He did work locally with Limavady and earned some of his coaching
badges. He was the appointed trainer at one of the League of Ireland
big clubs , Derry City, when Stephen Kenny left for pastures new. And
then he got his break in football. None other than Celtic came calling.
One of, if not the most Historic Club Side in Europe and one with huge
Irish connections. Surely this felt better than winning the Lotto for
But Jimmy wanted more. Jimmy’s quest for knowledge led him to China
and assistant coach at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese Super
League on a 3 year deal. Now at this stage, readers and biggots a like
please take a step back and have a small wee think about this. A wee
country boy from Naomh Conaill, who came all the way to the other end
of the country to IT Tralee with his long flowing locks, went from there to
Derry, and then via Glasgow onto China??? Please credit this man
where it us due.
He used to kick ball in Austin stack park, in Kerins O Rahillys, in
Connolly Park and the old Champfers Mitchels grounds I’ve no doubt as
well as some absolute places that words cannot describe or rather allow
me to use on here that higher education division 1 League games were
once played on !”
And he went further . He went bigger. Jimmy was right to do so. Why
not. He is Irish. He is proud. He had served his apprenticeship, He
wanted to better himself. That is Ireland’ness! End of. It is what we do.
Yet since he was unfortunately relieved of his duties with Charlotte
Independence yesterday the keyboard warriors are out in force!
Anonymous nobodies that have never achieved anything in sport
themselves. Never managed or played at intercounty level or possibly at
all any level most of them. Simply Clueless faceless computer heads.
Having been thrown into the wolves lair myself in the media not so long
ago by many of the same idiots and many of these so called “Sports
Editors!” it turns my stomach. Watch, read, and listen to the “REAL”
sports writers pieces on Jimmy and similar. People who have walked
the walk and talked the talk.
Get the real “learned” view point. Ok so maybe our use of the English
Language may not be that from Trinity College but we will tell it as we
see it and have seen it, rather than through rose tinted glasses of an “A”
level English student from an office window.
Will I piss people off. Most likely. But Jimmy McGuiness is like me.
Infatuated with sport. Will he make mistakes …of course he will. But I’d
rather make mistakes than pontificate from on high in a world of make