Donegal panel packing training gear as well as sun-cream for belated holiday
DONEGAL'S footballers are headed to the sun for a week during the three-week hiatus in the Allianz Football League but they will be bringing their boots with them.
The panel are flying out to Dubai on Friday for a week's R&R as a reward for winning Ulster and reaching the All-Ireland final last year.
Most counties take their team holidays immediately after Christmas but Donegal's trip was delayed until now because their All Star goalkeeper Paul Durcan (right) got married in late December.
And because it has happening during the break in league fixtures, they will be bringing their gear and doing some training out there.
Former manager Jim McGuinness won't be travelling with them because of his work commitments at Celtic.
New boss Rory Gallagher will not be involved either but he has arranged for them to train out there.
"They'll do a few sessions out in Dubai and then we'll step up the training, that was the plan always," Gallagher said.
The trip has been funded by an €80,000 grant from Croke Park for reaching the All-Ireland, plus a team holiday fund which is estimated to have raised over €100,000.
Several players have confirmed that it will be a very different kind of holiday than the sort that teams usually enjoy after reaching an All-Ireland final.
"We have a couple of training sessions planned," said goalkeeper Michael Boyle, who deputised for Durcan against Dublin last Saturday night when he sustained a head injury.
Donegal will return home on Friday week, just nine days before they host unbeaten Cork in round three.
With six of the eight teams on two points after the first two rounds, it looks like being a very volatile division.
Donegal are then home to Monaghan, away to Kerry and home to Tyrone in their four games in March, and finish away to Mayo.