Anthony Molloy believes the loss of Karl Lacey as head of the Donegal GAA academy is a "bigger concern" than the possibility of relegation of from Division 1 of the Allianz Football League.
Lacey, who was appointed to the position in Janaury 2021, stepped down in early February, saying "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". In a show of solidarity with Lacey, approximately 40 coaches also quit the academy. Last week the Donegal county board announced that they were "reluctantly accepting" Lacey's resignation.
"On the field he was no different to me, I'd no time for him"
BhĂ gĂŠarchoimhlint idir Anthony Molly agus Brian McGilligan.
đ Laochra Gael - Anthony Molloy
đ DĂŠardaoin / Thursday
đş ar @TG4TV
@AnthonyMolloy92 @ArdaraGAA @officialdonegal
â SpĂłrt TG4 (@SportTG4) March 6, 2023
"Karl Lacey came in the last couple of years and had done a fantastic job," 1992 All-Ireland winning Donegal captain Molloy said on Monday.
"We were in the top five academies in the country from what I hear and now we are sitting without any academy and it should never have happened.
"No one seems to know the answers as to why it did happen but definitely a breakdown in communication between our county board and Karl Lacey and the academy. There is no doubt about that. Karl Lacey is going to be a huge, huge loss to Donegal."
'Very backwards step for Donegal'
Molloy, whose episode of TG4 series Laochra Gael airs on March 9th at 9:30pm, said he understands that the county board met last week and are "looking for somebody like Karl Lacey".
"These people are hard to get," Molloy continued.
"It was a very, very backwards step for Donegal. Itâs a huge worry for Donegal right now.
"[Michael Murphy and Karl Lacey] are two huge figureheads in Donegal as we all know and I donât have to explain about Michael Murphy, what Michael Murphy has done for us as a capitano and as a leader on the field, off the field.
"Karl Lacey would be following that very, very closely as well as an example as well and we canât afford to lose players or people like this.
"We have Colm Anthony McFadden, heâs coaching in Sligo. We have Mark McHugh in Roscommon. So weâre losing great, great people to other counties presently.
âI think itâs something our county boards will have to look at. I always believed that we have a enough good people here in Donegal to manage our own affairs.
"I believe that Karl Lacey wonât be coming back which is a shame. He stated publicly last week that he will not be coming back. I suppose we have to move on as well, we have to find another head of our academy equal to Karl Lacey."
Molloy added that clarity from the county board regarding the departure is required.
"Itâs all about transparency and the county board issued a statement last week but it was a statement set out in such a way that the questions that us as supporters [have], they werenât answered, which is a worry as well," said Molloy.
"Things have to be more transparent, thereâs no doubt about that. I just hope that we can get things sorted out and that the supporters knows whatâs going on here, whether it was financial or whether it was personality clashes here, I donât know.
"Thereâs a lot of rumours going but look it, I do hope that they get things sorted out and that we will move on and somebody does take up the mantle that Karl Lacey had set out because everybody I speak to, they couldnât praise Karl Lacey highly enough as a great coach and as a footballer himself so hopefully we will get it sorted out."