GAA Football

Karl Lacey is a Donegal manager in the making says Barry Monaghan

Donegal's Karl Lacey moves in on Declan Lynch of Antrim during the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final match at Ballybofey
Gerry McLaughlin

Retired Donegal star Karl Lacey could be manager of his county at some point in the future, according to ex-club and county team-mate Barry Monaghan.

And it is strongly rumoured in Tir Conaill, that irrespective of who is picked as the new manager, that Lacey, an expert in strength and conditioning, could be part of that backroom team.

“Karl has all the qualifications for that role and he is already involved with underage teams and lectures in Letterkenny LYIT so he would be a perfect fit for the backroom team, no matter who is chosen,” said a Donegal source yesterday.

Declan Bonner and Cathal Corey were interviewed on Thursday night by a committee of five, namely Sean Dunnion, county chairman, Aideen Gillen, county secretary, Cieran Kelly, county treasurer, Paddy Carr and ex-player Damian Diver.

Former Donegal and Four Masters' star Barry Monaghan has watched with great interest the stellar rise of his club mate from committed underage player to become “Donegal's greatest ever defender.”

And Lacey, who was footballer of the year when Donegal won the All-Ireland final in 2012, has the “potential” to be a future Tir Conaill boss, according to club-mate Monaghan.

“Karl is quiet by nature but he can certainly say something when there is something to say,'' he said.

“He has always led by example and so many people look up to him because he has achieved so very much.

“It might take a while for him to reach the level of being county manager but he is already lecturing in Sports Studies in LYIT and is getting involved with Development Squads and that can only be good news for the county.”

So how did the hard-working teenager make the transition from a club player to becoming such a stellar figure?

“Maybe I am a bit biased but he must be the best defender of all time.

“Just look at his record.

“He has won four All Stars, in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011.

“And he won the first two when Donegal were not going all that well and that is perhaps the greatest measure of this exceptional man.

“And he can also go forward and kick points with his right and left foot.

“He is also one Donegal's most complete footballers,” said Monaghan.

However Lacey did not show the superb future at underage level.

“Karl was not a stand-out figure at underage level but he was always very committed with a great attitude.'' he added.

‘Then at around 16-17 he started to take off and he has never really looked back since.

“Karl has always worked very hard at his game and developed a formidable skill set.

“He was always trying new things and did a lot of work in he gym.

“But he also has great natural ability, was always a great reader of the game.”

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