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McGuinness presses for shake-up of club fixtures

By John Campbell

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness last night outlined his proposals for next year's domestic championship itinerary to the main office-bearers and managers of all senior teams within the county.

And when they return to the table for another meeting with McGuinness on Tuesday their reaction to his formula will have a big bearing on whether he commits himself to his role with the county for another year.

McGuinness has been less than happy with decisions made by the Donegal board over the past two years to press ahead with club championship fixtures while the county team is still involved in the Ulster or All-Ireland series.

It is understood he is now proposing that one or at most two rounds of the flagship domestic competition should be staged before the end of April with the championship then put on hold until the county's team itinerary has been completed.

While McGuinness does not appear to have a problem with the playing of league fixtures on an occasional basis, he is adamant that there should be no conflict between the domestic senior championship and the Ulster and All- Ireland championships.

McGuinness's disenchantment with the board's approach to the staging of the senior championship in tandem with the county team's participating in the provincial and All-Ireland series led to the board itself throwing the onus onto clubs to seek a solution in conjunction with McGuinness.

Now the hope is that this solution will be arrived at on Tuesday which could see McGuinnes confirm that he will remain on in his managerial role despite what are still viewed as factors which could lead to his exit.

His high-profile role with Celtic, the imminent arrival of twins thus increasing his family responsibilities and the onerous task of restoring badly-damaged morale and unearthing fresh talent for Donegal have provided him with much food for thought since his team's collapse against Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

Club officials may agree to the staging of perhaps two rounds of their internal championship before the end of April but this in itself would appear to be causing apprehension within the county.

One prominent county board officer revealed last night: "There is the strong possibility that if two rounds of our championship were to be played by April some teams would then find themselves out of the equation and their season would to all intents and purposes be over at this early stage."

Belfast Telegraph


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