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McGlynn preparing himself for a tense final battle

Bad memories: Frank McGlynn is keen to avoid a repeat of past woe
Bad memories: Frank McGlynn is keen to avoid a repeat of past woe
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Donegal's master of reinvention, Frank McGlynn, has denied there is an ill-feeling between his side and Ulster final opponents Tyrone ahead of Sunday's Clones showdown.

The rivalry has seen a few unsavoury incidents over the last couple of encounters and goes a little deeper when you include some allegations of 'sledging' between the duo's minor teams, who met in last year's preliminary round in Ballybofey.

However, Glenfin's McGlynn points to the changes in personnel since 2011 as a key reason for the antagonism being somewhat overstated.

"Both teams have changed quite a lot, even over the past two years," the school teacher said. "There has been a lot of younger players coming in, though those players have probably met at U21 and minor level and there's a rivalry built up through that.

"In recent years Donegal haven't played Tyrone in a so-called big Championship match - it's always been the first round or just after. Even going back to 2011 and 2012, both teams have changed dramatically since those years. The rivalry is probably bigger outside the two camps than what the players actually feel."

As a father of two, McGlynn is constantly cited as a player who might retire at the end of each season. However, he is enjoying a typically productive campaign once again.

Against Fermanagh he found himself at centre-forward and produced a majestically-delayed handpass to Odhran MacNiallais for the first goal.

And after playing in the previous five Ulster finals he knows what to expect.

"Come Sunday, rivalry is one thing but the intensity is always going to be there no matter who you're playing in an Ulster final," the 29-year-old stated.

"It's more the quality of both teams and I think both teams know that unless they play to the best of their ability, they're not going to come out on the right side of the result. I think both the Donegal and Tyrone camps know that."

And McGlynn is eager to avoid a repeat of the misery of their two lost Ulster finals. Despite bouncing back with round four victories, they were then beaten in the All-Ireland quarter-finals by Mayo in 2013 and 2015.

"Having put so much emphasis on winning an Ulster Championship, it's almost detrimental to the rest of your year," he said.

"An Ulster Championship is valued above all else in Donegal and until that's won and the Championship is completed, nobody looks towards the All-Ireland series.

"We have experienced two losses in the final in recent years and we know how difficult it is to get yourself back up to a high level after those defeats.

"While it's certainly an added incentive, recapturing the Anglo-Celt Cup is the No.1 aim for us in Donegal."

Belfast Telegraph


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