PAUL Flynn has denied any lingering tension between Dublin and Donegal exists ahead of their All-Ireland SFC semi-final next Sunday week.
Flynn was involved in the now infamous 2011 All-Ireland semi-final, an intensely fractious affair in which Diarmuid Connolly was sent off (but later exonerated by the CHC) and last year's League match in Ballybofey, a draw that relegated Donegal to Division 2, after which allegations of biting against Dublin corner-back, Kevin O'Brien emerged.
Flynn himself was substituted at half-time in the latter game after being booked and warned by referee Pádraig Hughes that another foul would result in his sending off.
"I don't think so. I know a good few of the Donegal lads and I got on quite well with them off the field," insisted the three-time All Star, who played alongside Donegal captain Michael Murphy and panelists Michael Boyle and Martin McElhinney during his four years as a student in DCU.
Indeed, Flynn shared digs with Murphy and Cork dual player, Aidan Walsh during his final two years at the college.
"But once you step on to the field, with any opposition you play against, until that game is over, it's a battle. And that's just the way it is.
"It could be with anybody. It could be a club game. A squad game. Whether it is. That's just football.
"That's the way we're built as athletes and footballers.
"So I don't think anyone's going to be carrying bad blood into it."
Asked about Jim McGuinness' summation that Dublin's recent success was somehow comparable with Roman Abramovich's investment in Chelsea in the Premier League, Flynn demurred.
"I don't read into any of that kind of stuff," he said.
"I know when I go training that there are 30/35 lads there who are going to put the hard work in. We just carry on internally like that. Try and forget about any other stuff like that."
"The county board in Dublin are doing great work. There's no doubt about it. I'm from Fingalians. We've got a GPO there, supported by the county board. They do great work in Dublin to build GAA within Dublin.
"And when it comes to our setup, I just got to training, train and get on with it. And I don't think any more of it. That's just the way I see it."
On a similar theme, Flynn - currently favourite for Footballer of the Year - was asked whether the influence and work of people like Pat Gilroy, Jim Gavin and Dessie Farrell had been fully appreciated in the face of regular comment on the county's population and financial resources.
"The guys are unreal," he insisted.
"They don't only work with us as a collective team, they put so much work and effort into the individuals who are in that team.
"They're like...to certain degree, they treat you they're own kids.
"They nurture you right through the whole journey. I'm sure every county manager is the same. But a lot of credit does have to go to them.
"Pat obviously brought us our first All-Ireland. I'll forever have that link and that bond with the 2011 group.
Flynn added: "Jim has brought us one as well and he's our manager at the moment so we want to keep that going too. You do build a bond with these guys."