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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
So it’s Jim McGuinness’ thing?
I won’t comment on it. Jim has a problem and if he wants, I’ll stand behind him, you know that way? Like, I’ll do whatever he tells me on the football pitch. I’m my own person outside that. But that’s a decision Jim made and fair play to him for standing his ground.
How did you feel about Kevin Cassidy leaving the panel?
I have a lot of time for Kevin, he’s a good friend. I’ve played with him my whole career for Donegal, apart from this year, so I like the man. He has a lovely wife and two gorgeous children. He’s a good fella. It’s unfortunate what happened, but it’s a decision that was made in the dressing room. We have to stand by it. As a team and as a collective, it’s the way we felt on the whole situation.
You were all together on it?
You have to be together. I would never ignore Kevin now or anything, I’ve still good time for him, but it’s just the way things panned out. It’s unfortunate because he is an exceptional footballer.
Was there a sense that someone had stepped outside the group?
Obviously that’s what it was, and I think it’s well documented what was said. There was a decision that the whole panel made. There’s 45 people on it and it was a tough decision.
I didn’t agree with Jim McGuinness asking Declan Bogue to leave. With regard to the book itself, there was something in it that I’d be interested to hear your views on: the whole issue of ‘sledging’, or verbally targeting players, which seems to have crept in.
To be honest it with you, I don’t think it’s crept in. I’ve experienced it for a long time. It’s part of the game and I don’t think it affects players as much as people might think. Everyone’s used to it. I don’t think there’s any sport it doesn’t happen in. Any sport I’ve played anyway, there’s been verbals in some way. It’s not something we would have focused on in any way. We wouldn’t pick out players on a team, but you have to stand up for yourself. If someone says something to you, you’re going to react and say something back.