Donegal’s 2012 All Ireland win seems like aeons ago. Their relegation from Division 1 now cements their status as a county lacking a strategy, vision and identity. But how did this titan of the north fall?
On the 8th of February, it emerged that the coaches, performance support staff, and logistics teams working for the Tr Chonaill Academy organisation were revealed to have resigned from their positions with immediate effect. Karl Lacey's decision to depart as head coach of the academy development for Donegal last Friday has had a profound impact on the academy. In his resignation letter, the 2012 All-Ireland winner blamed a lack of support from the county board.
Then the league started, and the dominos continued to fall. Five months and six league matches is all it took for Paddy Carr’s tenure as Donegal manager to come undone. When Carr was ratified as the manager of the county, it was evident that the man had a profound passion for the job. However, judging from his resignation, it appeared that that passion had dissipated.
“I want nothing more than the best for Donegal, and that will never change.” An unrequited love.
After Carr’s departure, Aidan O’Rourke has taken up the mantle as interim manager and head coach of the Donegal Senior Squad for the Ulster Championship and for the 2023 All-Ireland series. Paddy Bradley will be the assistant manager.
But how are things going on the pitch where it really goes? Not good. If there is one game that represents Donegal’s season so far, it is that of their withering 0-21 to 0-9 defeat against Davy Burke’s Roscommon.
They trailed by five points at half-time and managed just two points after the break, with the second of those only arriving in injury time. Their relegation to Division Two was already decided before this game, but what was most striking about this game is their lack of grit, determination and fire in the belly to put their best foot forward for the Ulster Championship. They hobbled away from Dr Hyde Park with their tail between their legs, a cloud of uncertainty overhead.
They will kick off their Ulster Championship against Division 3 Down, which may just be the fixture they need to kickstart their season. And their reward for this? Facing an Armagh side with a point to prove.