GAA Football

Karl Lacey returns to Donegal fold as Declan Bonner looks to the future

Karl Lacey walked away from the Donegal set-up last month, but has now returned and will be involved for the 2019 campaign. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Gerry McLaughlin

FORMER Player of the Year Karl Lacey is back in Declan Bonner’s Donegal backroom team, just a month ago after leaving the set-up.

New backroom addition Stephen Rochford will be head coach, with Karl Lacey and Gary Boyle working under him. Rochford’s position has not changed despite the return of Lacey, who was head coach last season.

This was confirmed yesterday by Donegal manager Bonner, who recruited the former Mayo boss after Lacey opted to take a break.

“It is great to have Karl back,” said Bonner.

“He made the transition last season from player to coach and did a fantastic job and played a big part in our success last season.

“Karl had a number of issues to sort out and he is newly married and had a new arrival but he is now in a position to return and we are really delighted to have him. He is a quality coach.

“He will now be working along with Gary Boyle under Stephen [Rochford], who is also a top class coach.

“We are delighted to have them both and it means we now have a quality coaching team and we are all really looking forward to getting back training at the beginning of next month.”

Under rule Donegal are not allowed to train until December 8. However the squad, with the exception of the players still involved with their clubs, are currently back on their strength and conditioning programmes.

The Donegal boss says there have been no retirements and he doesn’t expect any and that all of last year’s squad are back again for next season.

He also confirmed he had recalled Cloughaneely's Jason McGee (who had opted out to concentrate on the U20s), Michael Carroll of Gaoth Dobhair and Kilcoo’s Eoin McHugh, who both opted out last summer.

“The panel is open-ended at the moment. There is still so much club football going on and it will remain that way while Gaoth Dobhair and Red Hugh’s are still playing in the championship.

“But we hope to have most of the squad once we get back into training because the new playing season is just around the corner.

“Our first game in the Dr McKenna Cup is on December 30th and the first game in the League is on the last Sunday in January.”

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