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cold water Jim McGuinness dismisses Down link as speculation bubbles around his future

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Jim McGuinness is currently coaching the Derry City Under-19s

Jim McGuinness is currently coaching the Derry City Under-19s

Jim McGuinness is currently coaching the Derry City Under-19s

Jim McGuinness has poured a gallon of cold water on reports that he was poised to join the Down senior football squad in a coaching capacity.

The manager who famously led Donegal to All-Ireland SFC glory in 2012 has been touted this week for a dramatic return to the Gaelic football fold, having worked in professional soccer for much of the past decade.

But he has now made it clear that his focus “at the moment” remains on soccer.

Down have been on the lookout for a manager since July, and this week several reports suggested that McGuinness could be part of a ticket led by potential new manager Conor Laverty.

Throughout his soccer career he has maintained close links with the GAA through his media involvement, including a column for the Irish Times, and today he told that newspaper: “Over the course of the winter months a number of county teams have been in contact with me with a view to manager’s jobs and coaching roles.

“I spoke with all of them because I do love coaching and out of respect, really. You are going to listen to what someone has to say.

“And I told them all the same story - that I am very much focused on soccer at the moment and waiting to see what might happen or not happen at the end of the season.”

McGuiness stepped down as Donegal boss in 2014, having filled that role while also working as a performance consultant with Glasgow Celtic since late 2012.

In his swansong year with his native county, he masterminded Dublin’s first and only championship defeat of Jim Gavin’s seven-year reign, only to suffer defeat in the All-Ireland final to Kerry.

His move to soccer has seen him work in various capacities and in several different countries, including Scotland, China and the United States.

Most recently he has coached the Derry City squad that won the EA Sports U19 Enda McGuill Cup final after a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Bohemians last month.

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