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Donegal star Lacey eyes another All-Ireland crown

Karl Lacey found his involvement in this year's Ulster and All-Ireland Championships restricted to minutes rather than hours because of injury.

The Four Masters clubman, one of the leading defenders in the country, could only sit and watch helplessly as the Donegal side which he has served for a decade was eventually annihilated by rampant Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Yet although he has endured months of frustration because of injury, Lacey is among the first to issue a call to arms for next season now that manager Jim McGuinness has confirmed that he will be remaining in charge.

He may have an All-Ireland medal in his possession, having been a key cog in McGuinness's all-conquering 2012 side, but Lacey regards this as nothing more than an aperitif.

"I think when you get a top honour it sharpens your appetite for more and I believe the majority of Donegal players are thinking along these lines," he said.

And he is already urging his colleagues to commit themselves fully to the cause for 2014 in order that Donegal's reputation can be restored.

"We got to the All-Ireland final last year and won it so there's no reason why we can't do that next year," he said.

"We brought a few younger lads in this year and gave them game time, the likes of Ryan McHugh, Ross Wherity. These are additions that will help us next year.

"This is the time we didn't have last year and we can use it to plan ahead. The wheels are in motion already."

McGuinness's renewed commitment has been welcomed in Donegal where he is hailed as a sporting icon given his achievements since taking over in 2011.

Two Ulster titles and an All-Ireland triumph adorn his CV and Lacey believes that the present squad can achieve more.

"Jim is putting plans in place in the back of his head about what's going to be required over the next few months," he said.

"I have been chatting to the boys over the last few weeks since the Mayo game and every man is keen to go and give it a big shot next year." this year.

"Earlier in the year we did not have people on board and then by the time the championship came round we were not as ready as we should have been."

Belfast Telegraph