Jim McGuinness (born 16 November 1972) is an association football coach and former Gaelic footballer and manager, who won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship as both player and manager with the Donegal county team.
|Irish name||Séamus Mag Aonghusa|
|Born||16 November 1972|
Glenties, County Donegal, Ireland
Having guided Donegal to the final of the 2010 All-Ireland Under 21 Football Championship, McGuinness was appointed senior manager later that year. In his time at the helm, he oversaw a Donegal team that won three Ulster Senior Football Championship titles in four seasons and led them to the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. The 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final was the county's first appearance on football's ultimate stage since 1992. Donegal's victory that year was only the county's second All-Ireland senior title in more than 120 years. McGuinness's Donegal were the only team to defeat Dublin in a championship match during Jim Gavin's time as manager, doing so in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final, and McGuinness's condensing of the pitch influenced how Dublin subsequently improved over the next five years. McGuinness ended his Donegal career shortly after that defeat of Dublin.
McGuinness is one of very few county team managers to have been taken a role at a professional sports team outside Ireland. began working with Celtic as a coach in 2012, progressing to the position of assistant manager of the club's under-20 squad. In 2017, he took up a coaching role with Beijing Sinobo Guoan, leaving in January 2018. In December 2018, he was named as the new head coach of Charlotte Independence in the USL Championship. He has a UEFA A Licence.
McGuinness was born in Glenties, County Donegal. He spent his childhood at Ard Patrick in Glenties. His brother Charles died suddenly during the night from an unknown heart problem when he was 16. McGuinness later spoke about that event: "It was a moment in your life, Ryan [Tubridy, host of The Late Late Show], where you're going along and your life is going along in a certain direction and then, just all of a sudden, you're jilted and you're going in a different direction. In many respects it was like a sledgehammer. I have to say that. I was 12, heading for 13, and you're never the same person again. And that's being honest. All of a sudden your life just changes. You're weak and you're vulnerable. There's this sense of freefall and trying to make sense of it. All I wanted to do was make things right for my mother and father, to get it back to what it was". A friend of Charles suggested the dead boy would have been "a cert for the county minors". McGuinness took the remark to heart and it proved an important motivation for his later life: "I remember them words and I remember staring at the television, and in that moment saying to myself: 'I'm going to do that. I'm going to do that'. And in that moment my focus became very, very concentrated and I became very aware of the fact that I didn't want anybody else in the room to realise what I was thinking. From that moment on, that's how I started living my life. When I would get in from school at twenty to four — we're just a couple of hundred metres from the school — at quarter to four I'd be running down the road or on the bike and I'd be in the pitch, particularly in the wintertime because you'd only have maybe 45 minutes of light. It just became a big, big part of my life".
|Irish name||Séamus Mag Aonghusa|
McGuinness was called up to the county minors in 1990.
As a "scraggly-haired teen" in 1992, McGuinness observed from the bench Brian McEniff's team beat Derry in the final of the Ulster Senior Football Championship before going on to win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
A member of the 1992 All-Ireland winning team, McGuinness was also a star of Third-Level Colleges football, winning Sigerson Cups with Tralee in 1998 and 1999 as captain, and again as captain in 2001 with the University of Ulster at Jordanstown (U.U.J.). At Tralee he studied health and leisure. He played club football with Naomh Conaill, winning a Donegal Senior Football Championship in 2005. With Ireland, he played in the 1998 International Rules Series.
After Donegal lost the final of the 1998 Ulster Senior Football Championship, Jim McGuinness — aged 25 at this time — decided to go to New York for the summer. As he and his brother Mark drove towards the airport, a lorry struck their car and killed driver Mark — aged 27. McGuinness later said: "Just as the lorry was passing us it came straight across the road and took us out of it. And that was it. We were flung, really, like a matchbox up the road and spun so many times, and the car came to a shudder and a stop. Very quickly you realised that we were in a very, very difficult situation. I just told him repeatedly that I loved him. That's what I told him. It was probably 10 years before I realised or accepted that it happened".
McGuinness scored a goal against Armagh ten minutes from the end of the 2002 Ulster Senior Football Championship final. He played with Donegal until 2003. Upon retiring he became a fitness coach and lectured as a sports psychologist in the North West Regional College, Limavady.
At the age of 18 McGuinness was coaching underage teams. Columba McDyer, at the time the only Donegal man with an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medal, approached him one night. He said: "I think you are going to be a coach. I want you to have this whistle", and presented him with a blue and white whistle. As of 2012, McGuinness was still using that whistle.
The story goes[clarification needed] that one day McGuinness tore his cruciate ligaments, broke a leg and smashed a kneecap in a game against Killybegs, leading to months spent languishing at home in self-pity and lethargy. Naomh Conaill manager Hughie Molloy asked him to coach the senior team—McGuinness accepted and in 2005 Naomh Conaill reached their first county final in 40 years. 6/1 outsiders ahead of the match, Naomh Conaill defeated a heavily-fanced St Eunan's after a replay to take their first ever Donegal Senior Football Championship. The style used was reminiscent of what would later become The System.
In 2009, Naomh Conaill met St Eunan's in the County Championship Final again. McGuinness, now aged 36, was joint-manager (with Cathal Corey) of Naomh Conaill. Naomh Conaill lost that one but won the County Championship Final again the following year. McGuinness was joint-manager with Corey again in 2010.
McGuinness was turned down several times by the Donegal County Board, on one occasion being thwarted by the lack of a plug socket for the projector needed for his PowerPoint display. "I was the only candidate [on the last occasion] and I struggled to get it", he said the week before Donegal took on Mayo in the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. He had offers from other counties but held out, determined to become senior boss even when those at the top did their utmost to deprive him of the opportunity.
Peter McGinley—McGuinness's number two when in charge of the Donegal Under-21s.
The last time he was rejected as senior manager McGuinness was given the under-21 team to manage as a consolation. He guided them to the 2010 All-Ireland U-21 Football Championship Final, in which they were narrowly defeated by Dublin.
In July 2010, McGuinness, having led Donegal to the 2010 All-Ireland U-21 Football Championship Final, was appointed as manager of the senior team when his colleague John Joe Doherty resigned in the wake of a disastrous season. His first meeting with the downcast and "demoralised" senior panel occurred at Downings Bay Hotel on 6 November 2010. He outlined his intentions: to be in the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final after four years of hard labour akin to an Olympiad. McGuinness drafted Kevin Cassidy into his first McKenna Cup panel, despite Cassidy announcing his intention to retire the previous season's disappointing campaign.
McGuinness's first year as manager proved successful, as Donegal gained promotion to Division 1 after beating Laois by a scoreline of 2–11 to 0–16. Donegal's 2011 All-Ireland Championship campaign began on 15 May 2011, against Antrim. Both sides performed poorly; however, Donegal ultimately triumphed, earning their first Ulster championship win for four years. On his first start in the Ulster Senior Football Championship, Ryan Bradley scored two points The Sunday Game gave him their man-of-the-match award. However, TV pundit Pat Spillane also claimed Bradley was "the best of a bad bunch" and didn't deserve the award at all, causing McGuinness to react furiously. McGuinness called Spillane's comments "way over the top".
On 17 July 2011, Donegal won their first Ulster title since 1992 when they defeated Derry by a scoreline of 1–11 to 0–8. On 30 July 2011, Donegal faced Kildare in the All-Ireland quarter-final. The sides finished level at full-time, forcing the game into extra-time. Donegal edged out Kildare by a scoreline of 1–12 to 0–14, with late points scored by captain Michael Murphy and two veterans, Christy Toye and Kevin Cassidy. Donegal were then narrowly defeated by Dublin in the semi-final on 28 August 2011; Dublin went on to become All-Ireland champions by beating Kerry in the final.
On 10 November 2011, McGuinness dropped Kevin Cassidy from the Donegal panel after Cassidy contributed to a book (This Is Our Year). Cassidy appeared not to understand why this was so. Cassidy has not played for Donegal since. In what went down as a "surreal moment for the viewer", Mícheál Ó Domhnaill famously interviewed McGuinness following a live 2012 league game on TG4 while Cassidy, in the role of television analyst, stood beside him with his head bowed.
In his second season in charge of the Donegal senior football team, McGuinness led his team from the preliminary round of the Ulster Senior Football Championship all the way to the Sam Maguire Cup, two years ahead of schedule, half-way through his intended Olympiad.
Donegal retained the Ulster title for the first time in team history on 22 July 2012, with a 2–18 to 0–13 victory over Down. McGuinness then masterminded a comprehensive defeat of Kerry in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship quarter-finals. This result was described by the national media as "the most seismic result in [Kerry] since the 1987 Munster final replay defeat to Cork". Pat Spillane, prominent critic of the team, was nowhere to be seen after this defeat of his own team, though he bumped into Jim McGuinness on the steps of a hotel the following week as McGuinness was being photographed receiving an award.
McGuinness then led his team to the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final with a comprehensive semi-final defeat of title-favourites Cork at Croke Park. Ahead of the match, Cork were favourites to win the title itself (even though this was only the semi-final). Tyrone's Mickey Harte, attempting to analyse the game for the BBC, expressed his shock: "To be honest, I could not see that coming. Donegal annihilated Cork, there is no other word for it." Martin McHugh, a member of the successful 1992 side, said it was the best ever performance by any Donegal team, including his own.
McGuinness's Donegal team defeated Mayo in the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. McGuinness duetted with Daniel O'Donnell on "Destination Donegal" at the homecoming. He was later awarded Donegal Person of the Year.
Donegal's defence of their All-Ireland title began against Tyrone on 26 May 2013. The match was billed in advance as the toughest contest Donegal would face in Ulster, with the winner thought likely to become Ulster champions. Donegal brushed aside Tyrone with relative ease. McGuinness said afterwards: "In the last two years the exact same thing was said. The only difference this year was that we were relegated [from the league]. There was a lot of talk about putting all the eggs into one basket, but it was the same last year and the same the year before. That's what we do – it's championship football. It will be no different next year. It was a media spin that got the whole debate going. Next year we will put all our eggs in that basket again."
Donegal lost their Ulster title to Monaghan in the Ulster Final on a scoreline of 0–13 points to 0–07 in favour of the Farney men. Plagued by injuries, they limped past Laois in the qualifiers to face Mayo in the All Ireland Quarter Final, a rematch of the previous year's All Ireland Final. Mayo were sixteen-point winners on a scoreline of 4–17 to 1–10. In a post-match interview, McGuinness cited the second half of Mayo as one of the toughest watches of his managerial career. In September 2013, McGuinness confirmed he would be staying on for the 2014 season but that Rory Gallagher, Maxi Curran and Francie Friel had stepped down from his backroom team. On 25 September 2013, Damian Diver, John Duffy and Paul McGonigle were named as the new members of his backroom team.
In his fourth season in charge of the Donegal senior football team, McGuinness led his team to the 2014 Ulster Senior Football Championship, then past Armagh in the All-Ireland quarter-final, past Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final and onwards to Kerry in the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, succeeding in his original aim, set back in 2010. The semi-final victory over Dublin was particularly celebrated. Dublin had been expected to "massacre" Donegal; bookmakers were stunned by the outcome. Martin McHugh said afterwards that McGuinness was "the best manager Donegal have ever had, and one of the best in any county in the modern era", while Ireland manager Paul Earley hailed the victory as McGuinness's greatest coaching achievement. On 4 October 2014, McGuinness terminated his tenure as Donegal manager. He gave his first interview since this on The Saturday Night Show soon afterwards.
After leading Donegal to All-Ireland success, McGuinness acquired a UEFA A Licence. He successfully applied to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) to study for a UEFA Pro Licence in 2019, his classmates including Damien Duff and Robbie Keane. As of 2020, he still had not obtained the licence as two blocks coincided with games in which he was manager but expressed his intention to complete it later in the year (subject to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions).
McGuinness did work with a soccer team in Limavady.
On 9 November 2012, the Scottish football team Celtic, based in Glasgow, confirmed its intention to appoint McGuinness as a performance consultant on a part-time basis. It was expected that he would remain as the Donegal manager, spending three days each week in Scotland focusing on the soccer club's academy structure at their Lennoxtown training centre. His role at Celtic did not affect his attendance at Donegal training sessions; he attended every one.
In May 2015, McGuinness confirmed his desire to advance his career as a soccer coach at Celtic, saying he was about to start his UEFA B coaching badge.
In June 2017, McGuinness was named as assistant coach of Chinese Super League side Beijing Sinobo Guoan F.C., under coach Roger Schmidt. He resigned for "personal, family reasons" just over six months later in January 2018.
In December 2018 he was named as the new head coach of Charlotte Independence in the USL Championship where he signed a three-year contract. On 12 June 2019, McGuinness was sacked as head coach after just one win in 14 games in the 2019 USL Championship season.
In 2014, Sky Sports secured a three-year deal to broadcast live matches from the All-Ireland Senior Football and Hurling Championships. In May 2015, McGuinness was announced as a member of the commentary team.
The family moved to the United States when McGuinness took up the job as manager of Charlotte Independence and continued to live there afterwards.
- All-Ireland Senior Football Championship: 1992
- Ulster Senior Football Championship: 1992
- International Rules Series: 1998
- Sigerson Cup: 1998, 1999 [c], 2001 [c]
- Donegal Senior Football Championship: 2005
- "Jim McGuinness - Personally Speaking Bureau". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- "How basketball influenced Dublin's Drive for Five". RTÉ Sport. 30 May 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
One area Ingle looked to have an influence on was stretching the pitch in attack and it was a direct consequence of Donegal's success under Jim McGuinness.
- Other examples are former Derry and Armagh coach John McCloskey who took the role of skills coach at London Wasps and Justin McNulty who was appointed in a similar role to McGuinness's Celtic position at Sunderland F.C.
*"Cup winner Woodman moves to Wasps". BBC Sport. 9 June 2009. *Moran, Seán (9 November 2012). "McGuinness move would be huge blow to Donegal". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
Whereas the GAA has sustained a modest loss of players to the AFL over the years this is the first time that a top-rank inter-county manager has been offered a job in professional sport. McGuinness is unusual in the ranks of All-Ireland winning managers in that he has academic qualifications in sports science and in sports psychology, in which he holds a masters degree.
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On to Dublin v Donegal and you wondered if the men of Tir Conaill would even show up, the bookies having priced Dublin at 10–1 on. 'I mean, that's like Arkle', said Colm, but he wasn't entirely ruling out a Foinavon, and neither was Joe, mentioning the mural on the rock outside Glenties that depicts Jim McGuinness as Che Guevara.
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Nineteen long years passed since McGuinness, the scraggly-haired teen, sat on the bench as Brian McEniff's vintage of 1992 toppled Derry and took the Anglo Celt Cup back to the Diamond in Donegal Town.
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McGuinness ... was joint-manager alongside Cathal Corey when they delivered a second county title in 2010 with McLoone scoring four points in the final. McGuinness moved onto the Donegal job the following year...
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Over on BBC Northern Ireland they were no less befuddled... "Predictions?" asked Austin O'Callaghan. Jarlath [Burns of Armagh]: "Cork." Mickey [Harte of Tyrone]: "Cork." Paddy [Bradley of Derry]: "Cork." [...] Final whistle. "Well?" asked Austin, but his guests didn't really know where – or how – to start.
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Will the massacre take place the bookies are predicting? The bookies are giving Donegal little chance of pulling off a shock today.
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It didn't surprise Corey to see McGuinness move into soccer roles in Glasgow and Beijing. 'No, not at all. One time, your man Stephen Kenny had left Derry and McGuinness was in as their trainer, and the next day Kenny – he was over in Scotland and he came back and got the job the next day, and then Jim was out. He had got the job as their trainer but didn't even do one session. He had been doing a bit of work over in Limavady with a soccer team as well. He had always been involved in soccer'.
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|Awards and achievements|
| All-Ireland Senior Football Final
John Joe Doherty
| Donegal Senior Football Manager
| Donegal Under-21 Football Manager