Donegal’s McGuinness denies branding Dubs ‘c hokers’ in RTÉ tirade
DONEGAL manager Jimmy McGuinness has clarified his comments relating to the Dublin footballers on the most recent edition of The Sunday Game and explained that he did not label Pat Gilroy’s men "chokers".
McGuinness cut an animated figure in the interview with RTÉ’s flagship highlights programme and flew into a rage as he condemned their analysis of his own team and that of several other counties.
“I think Donegal at the minute with the media is a thing that you can poke fun at,” he said on the programme, aired last Sunday night. “You can eulogise about Kerry and then talk about Dublin, the perennial chokers – but Donegal, just poke fun at them.”
But when contacted by the Herald, McGuinness insisted that his reference to Dublin was used to illustrate the calibre of stereotypical and ill-informed analysis which he believes has become commonplace on the programme and was not, in fact, a statement of his own beliefs.
“Where I was coming from is that we felt that we were being disrespected and I felt that that was not acceptable,” McGuinness explained.
“Respect is a very important thing to us in this group and I felt that certain counties were being pigeonholed the whole time.
“Cork and Kerry are pigeon-holed a certain way at the moment. The suggestion with Dublin is that when the real pressure comes on, that they lose their ‘bottle’. Donegal seem to be there for everybody to shoot at. They talk about Armagh all being great, big, strong men.” However, McGuinness insisted that he has “huge admiration” for Dublin and revealed that he has taken some inspiration from the way Gilroy has managed the team in recent seasons.
“From a Dublin perspective, I would have huge admiration for what Pa t Gilroy has done,” he stated. “Some of the things he has done, we would aspire to try and implement. I would have nothing but respect for Dublin.”
McGuinness had initially refused to be interviewed by the programme in protest at what he perceived was the unfair treatment of Donegal player Ryan Bradley, who was awarded the man of the match gong in Donegal’s opening Ulster SFC defeat of Antrim.
He subsequently relented, but used the opportunity to hit back at some of the barbs which had been aired on the post-match highlights slot.
“We just felt that after the game, particularly in relation to the man of the match Ryan Bradley that night on The Sunday Game, that he was disrespected,” McGuiness said.
“They were saying that there was no man of the match, then they were giving man of the match to Ryan, then there was no man of the match.
“If there’s an issue with how we play or how we set ourselves up or tactics, there’s no problem there.
But when it becomes personal, it’s my job (to defend them). I’ve a duty of care to the players and we just weren’t happy that we were being disrespected.”