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Cúl & The Gang
Last year, their ultra-defensive style made them one of the most reviled Gaelic football teams in history. But there is no arguing with the transformation of Donegal in 2012 as they overcame three powerhouses of the game to win the All Ireland. Goalkeeper Paul Durcan lifts the lid on the Ulstermen’s extraordinary success – and discusses the controversies that have dogged enigmatic manager Jim McGuinness...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 01 Nov 2012
I read him saying that he has a soft spot for Donegal.
There’d be a lot of Donegal people in Glasgow and vice versa. Gweedore has a serious connection to Glasgow. Frankie Boyle was tweeting about Donegal. I think he said at the Ulster final, “If Donegal win today I’m going to buy the 15 lads 15 sheep” or something (laughs). I think he’s a bit of a supporter too. It’s nice to have that sort of interest.
And Daniel O’Donnell of course.
Oh Jesus yeah, fucking hell! We got plenty of tunes from Daniel! We had a good old night there. After, I think the Cork game, we went for a bite to eat up in D2 in the Harcourt Hotel. He came in and played a few songs while we were eating our dinner. It was good craic. He’s good in fairness to him – he’s some operator.
Shay Given also keeps an eye on the Donegal team.
Our goalkeeping coach knows him well, and he’d be in touch with him. In fairness, he said before the game if there was anything he could do to help us out, he would, which was nice. He’s a big Donegal supporter. He’d be an idol of mine, personally. Hopefully we can get over to Villa for a game and get to meet him. He’s an exceptional keeper.
In terms of the aura that surrounded Donegal this year, Joe Brolly said you were the most incredible team he’d ever seen.
I always admired Joe. He was an unbelievable player. I always remember watching him when I was younger, and he broke a lot of Donegal hearts over the years. When you have a man like him saying that, it is a bit mindblowing. He was at a few training sessions too to watch us: the way we were playing interested him. He’s in hospital in London at the moment – he gave his kidney to one of the other boys in his club in Belfast. That’s unreal.
What about the aura?
I don’t know about the aura. We got a few lessons in the National League – down in Kerry we got absolutely destroyed. Coming away from that was kind of a tipping point in our season. They pushed us around and made fools of us nearly that day. We sort of had to look at ourselves after that game and say, “Come here, we need to sort something out.”