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McGlynn aims to make the hard yards count in huge showdown

By Declan Bogue

A look through any Championship programme featuring Donegal would surely provide a moment's reflection as the eye scans down the column row of ages.

During the year, Paul Durcan, Eamonn McGee and Colm McFadden tipped into their 30s. Another trio in Neil Gallagher, Rory Kavanagh and David Walsh have long since given up on any pretensions of going along on a Club 18-30 holiday.

Frank McGlynn seems to have been around forever, but he is a relative pup at 28 now. Even so, it always seems to be Frank that fields the retirement questions.

"I suppose when you look at the team there are a few now hitting the 30 mark or just over it and it seems to be the norm now when you hit that mark that people talk about retirement," says McGlynn.

"A few years ago it would be 32, 33 but now it seems to be getting younger every year.

"At the moment there is no talk of retirements here, of anyone's career coming to an end. It all depends on the year you had previously; last year we felt we let ourselves down so it was easy to come back this year and go at it again."

Giving the commitment expected of a county footballer has, he reveals, led to time when he has naturally questioned his own future in the game. But then again, they seem to be connected to the bad times.

"There are always times of the year when things don't work out, where you have had a disappointing campaign, where you were knocked out early, getting beaten in Ulster and the qualifiers early," said McGlynn.

"Those are always the hardest to take because you have put seven months hard work into it and it is gone like that. But these last few years have been different, we have always been at the business end, reaching Ulster finals, reaching All-Ireland quarter-finals.

"When you get those days out it does give you a sense of reward for what you have put in."

Perhaps it should be pointed out that McGlynn is a rarity in county football – married to Diane, they have two children; something that wouldn't be the case in too many county squads.

Yet he is grateful for the help his extended family willingly give.

"There is good support there and it makes it easier coming in from work and going back out the door within an hour. It is definitely a help to have the support because the commitment involved in inter-county football is becoming more and more intense, with everyone stepping up a level to match those standards," he explains.

The Glenfin man came into the panel in Brian McIver's first year as Donegal manager in 2006 and that season was not without its controversies as McIver took a hard line on socialising.

So naturally, conversation turns to whether it feels like old times when the national spotlight once again focused in on Donegal with the panel leaking four players, most notably 2012 All-Star Mark McHugh.

"I suppose it has some similarities with years ago but in relation to the four boys who have left the panel, it is a massive commitment and between college and work commitments, they felt it was too much to give right now."

Despite all that, McGlynn warns that Donegal are homing in nicely for tomorrow's tussle in the Bogside against Derry.

He says: "We have not focused on what has been reported. We have had two weeks of very good training since the league final and there has been a massive increase in the level of training, and a lot of boys are getting back on the pitch who were carrying niggles."

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