PAUL DURCAN BELIEVES Donegal players would have considered their futures if Jim McGuinness had not remained on as county football boss for the 2014 season.
It was confirmed in September that McGuinness would remain in charge and that quelled speculation that he was considering calling it a day.
“I think boys would have thought about it (their futures)”, admits Durcan. “The lads that are there are there because they like playing, they love playing for Donegal. But it is an incentive when the manager that you’ve won an All-Ireland with is staying on.
“Jim is a man that we have a lot of respect for. I think he’s a very good football brain and that’s something we’ve come to realise strongly over the last few years. It was a big part of our year to keep him there. It was extremely vital.”
While McGuinness stays on, his sidekick from the past few years Rory Gallagher has departed the Donegal management setup.
Durcan admitted that it was ‘hard’ to see Gallagher depart the management setup but he is not surprised to see the ex-Fermanagh player link up with Donegal U21 boss Maxi Curran.
“All the players have a lot of respect for Rory and it’s hard to see him go. He’s very good at what he does – an intelligent man – and he’ll be a big addition to Maxi (Curran) in the 21 setup and hopefully that goes well for them
“Rory’s living in Donegal now and if you know Rory, he has such a love of the game. He wasn’t going to stay out of football for long so it didn’t surprise me at all.”
Donegal selector Rory Gallagher and manager Jim McGuinness
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Donegal’s focus is now trained on the 2014 season. Durcan, who works in Dublin for a construction recruitment company 3D personnel, is getting set for another year of commitment to the cause by trekking to the North-West.
A clear-the-air team meeting in Letterkenny in October has helped them flush the toxins of the heavy defeat to Mayo in their All-Ireland quarter-final out of their system.
“There was a lot of stuff aired and we’re looking forward to moving on again now”I’ve never been in an unhonest dressing room in the past three years. They’re always honest.
“The pain after the Mayo defeat was hard to take and it’s something that we have to embrace as a dressing-room. With 15 minutes to go it was done and dusted. It was about trying to stem the tide at that stage.”
Paul Durcan dejected after the defeat to Mayo
Pic: INPHO/James Crombie