Jim McGuinness is a legendary figure in his home county of Donegal. He led the Senior Football team to their first All-Ireland Championship in 20 years back in 2012. They reached the final again in 2014 before losing out to Kerry. This was to be his last year in charge of the team. Fast forward to 2020 and McGuinness is back involved in the sport, this time with the Galway footballers.
But where has he been until now?
After a successful period up north, it was time for a new challenge in the eyes of McGuinness. Soccer was next on the agenda. His commitment to starting from the bottom and eventually achieving his UEFA B coaching license was a clear indicator that this was a serious career move for the Donegal man.
McGuinness’s first job in soccer came back in 2012 when he was still involved with Donegal, having just won the All-Ireland. Through his connections, he landed himself a gig with Scottish giants Celtic as a performance consultant. He would continue to work with Donegal, juggling both jobs. His tenure in Glasgow would last five years, coming to an end in 2017 when McGuinness vacated his role of assistant manager with the U-20 squad. China was calling next. Soccer, as professional sport, was on the rise in China. But unfortunately the same couldn’t be said of McGuinness’s management career as he had to call a halt to his time after six months for personal reasons.
After China came an unsuccessful stint in America as head coach of Charlotte Independence which ended with both parties going their separate ways last June.
Return to the GAA
Jim McGuinness will be disappointed with his experience in soccer management to date. There is a certain sense of unfulfillment lingering over the soccer section of his C.V. It may be a case of unfinished business but for now he has turned his attention to GAA and Galway. He has been brought in alongside manager Padraig Joyce to help with preparations for the upcoming All-Ireland Championship. Both men are familiar with one another having played together for IT Tralee back in 1999. McGuinness has not “formally” joined Joyce’s backroom team, instead taking up a temporary role.
Although well-respected within the realms of the GAA, it may come as a surprise that McGuinness has returned to the sport. Irish golfer Paul McGinley, who turned to McGuinness for advice when he became the European Ryder Cup captain back in 2013, declared that the former Donegal boss “would not be coming back to the GAA” when interviewed two years ago. However since then things haven’t gone as planned and maybe it is time to go back to the drawing board.
Galway kick off their 2020 All-Ireland campaign against Sligo on Saturday 7th November.