DONEGAL FULL BACK Neil McGee is never going to be seen as a protector of the stylish side of gaelic football. Few defenders would.
By nature, they like things kept tight and controlled. Suffocate the ball and most true defenders will be happy with their day’s work.
So when barbed comments about Donegal being ‘bad for football’ come his way, he’s never likely to take notice. Not when they’re winning games and trophies.
“We are still going to have that (defensive) tag anyway,” McGee said in the wake of Sunday’s seismic win over Cork, “but we do pride ourselves on our defence. We are adapting well now, we feel that we have the legs that can make the transition from the defence up to the forwards.
“It does not bother me. The system is working.”
While a lot of talk since the beginning of Jim McGuinness’ tenure in the north-west has zoned in on what some have seen as extreme fitness regimes, McGee would appear to be speaking for the entire team when he expresses a lust to return to the day-to-day business of training; the proving fields.
His concerns now are not what outsiders may think of their methods, but the possibility of hype and distractions disrupting the lead-up to the biggest game of his life: the All-Ireland final.
“It is just a matter of getting away from the hype now and we would just urge the public to give us that chance. They are football mad in Donegal right now and it would be nice to get away and just concentrate on the training now.” said the Gweedore man, adding:
“I hope that they do now give us the chance to get away and do our training. These opportunities do not come around too often for us in Donegal, so we need to make the most of it.
“The amount of work we have put in we don’t expect anything else. One of the fears we had going into the game is that we would not be going back into training on Tuesday night. We are enjoying it that much. Jim has created that bond within the squad. It is a credit to him. It is hard to get that bond.”