Donegal Academy coaches quit in support of Karl Lacey

Karl Lacey stepped down from his position as Donegal's Head of Academy Development
Karl Lacey stepped down from his position as Donegal's Head of Academy Development

DONEGAL GAA has been rocked by the news that all of the football coaches in county's underage academy yesterday announced they were standing down in support of Karl Lacey, the Head of Academy Development who resigned his post last week.

More than 40 coaches released a statement to the county board on Thursday outlining their decision

The statement read: "We regret to inform you that the coaches, performance support and logistics support involved in the Donegal Academy are stepping down from their duties with immediate effect.

“Our U20 and U17 coaches and management teams will remain in place as they are in season, and the integrity of our competitions must be preserved.

“We would all like to express our full support for the Head of Academy Development and are extremely disappointed in how he was treated in his role.

“However our deepest regret lies with the approximately 350 young Donegal players which are currently at a standstill, who we coached and bonded with over the past 18 months and indeed their parents/guardians who were equally as committed.

“However the coaches, performance support and logistics support feel that the development and pathway for Donegal is not aligned with or supported by the leadership within the county.

“As a group we have lost all confidence in governance of Donegal GAA."

Lacey stood down last week as and cited alleged lack of co-operation from the board.

The four-time Allstar and former Footballer of the Year told his coaching team of the decision, thanking them for their work, having first been appointed to the position in January of 2021.

Lacey, who has an MSc in Sports Performance from University of Limerick and is a lecturer in Sport Coaching and Performance at ATU Donegal, was over the coaching of players from U14 level up in the county.

“It is with a heavy heart and deepest regret I have to announce I am stepping away from Donegal GAA academy effective immediately," Lacey told his coaching staff.

"I wish to thank all of you for your part in the exceptional progress we have made together in the last two years.

“I am so proud of what we have achieved and feel sad that we have not been supported in continuing to impact our young players by giving them the opportunity to grow and develop through the positive learning environments you all created every single day.

“I do hope for the sake of the wonderful young people we worked with that our brilliant progress will not be in vain and they will get the support it deserves.

“A huge thanks for all your ongoing commitment, massive energy and hunger, sharing of knowledge and exceptional support towards the academy. I look forward to working with you in the future for the good of Donegal GAA and its best interests always.”

When contacted, a spokesperson for Donegal County Board said they were not yet in a position to respond to the statement from the coaches.

It is understood the board will be meeting as soon as possible to discuss the matter.