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McGrath is hoping that all the self-sacrifice pays off

By John Campbell

Donegal quartet Paddy McGrath, Paul Durcan, Martin Reilly and Declan Walsh have long since absorbed the belief that the road to success can be particularly hard.

Having logged thousands of miles in commuting from their Dublin base to their native county for training and matches, they need no further convincing that medals of whatever hue are richly earned.

This week the foursome have been putting in extra shifts on the road in an intensive build-up to Sunday's Ulster final against Monaghan but self-sacrifice has been the name of the game for the players for some time now.

Defender Paddy McGrath, who initially made his name at Under-12 level, typifies the spirit and commitment of the quartet when he says: "It is becoming hectic for inter-county footballers now with the amount of training that you have to do and with a job to do as well.

"If you work a 12-hour day and then have to go training, it is home to bed and up for work the next day again. You have to eat right, you have to sleep right. Routine is key, you have to be well organised."

An engineer, McGrath is currently working on a project in Clontarf but, in common with his Dublin-based colleagues, does not complain about the difficulties and demands imposed by a demanding weekly itinerary.

"We train in Dublin on Tuesday nights with John Barry and Jack Cooney overseeing our sessions and then we head to Donegal for training on Thursdays from which we get back to Dublin about 1.30am and then it's up for work again at 6.30am. It doesn't give you much chance for anything else," says McGrath.

On Sunday, he will be in a Donegal side making its fifth successive appearance in an Ulster final and he positively relishes the challenge.

"We have to try and not concede goals on Sunday because goals win games. We are normally solid but you can't afford to give away a goal in a final," raps McGrath.

Belfast Telegraph


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