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Donegal boss Jim McGuinness keen to build on promotion

By John Campbell

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness may have seen his side secure promotion to Division One of the Allianz Football League and book their place in the divisional decider against Monaghan on April 27, but he certainly has no intention of allowing his players to rest on their laurels.

Instead, the 2012 All-Ireland winning manager will whisk his side off to Portugal for a team-bonding week on Thursday that could yet deliver handsome dividends in the Ulster championship.

Donegal are due to meet neighbours Derry in the quarter-finals but while McGuinness is obviously paying close attention to the progress that Brian McIver's side is making, he is more focused on further strengthening his own line-up.

Karl Lacey, Neil Gallagher and Christy Toye are among players who have returned to the side in the recent past after lengthy injury lay-offs.

With Donegal due to meet Cavan in the Ulster U21 final tomorrow night at the Athletic Grounds, there is a strong possibility that there could be another boost in store for McGuinness.

Five members so the senior panel are included in manager Maxie Curran's U21 squad, as McGuinness takes stock of Donegal's progress to date.

"The most important thing is that we are up into Division One. We have been able to give players who were coming back game time while a lot of the younger players have performed well for us and now our preparations can start in earnest for the Ulster championship," states McGuinness.

"We are going away on Thursday and I feel that the players will benefit from this trip. It will be an opportunity to hone our tactics.

"There is a tremendous spirit within the side right now and obviously we are keen to retain this. We have good experience and the players are clearly focused on bringing more success."

This could be McGuinness' last year in charge and he is clearly attempting to take every possible step at this stage that could yet see him bow out on a high.

Belfast Telegraph


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