'Boden high flier Durcan leaves door open for Donegal return
Last Sunday Paul Durcan made the now familiar commute back to Qatar.
It's eight and a half hours of a flight and more than 7,000km from Dublin to Doha but it would have been a lot easier for the Donegal man, knowing that he'll get to do it all again in the build-up to Ballyboden St Enda's All-Ireland club final clash with Castlebar Mitchels on St Patrick's Day.
"It is strange enough," Durcan said of his trips over and back to line out for his adopted club.
"I'm lucky the lads are sound about it and I'm enjoying it. It's good craic and it's easy to do when you are playing games like that.
"They are starting to know me on some of the flights," he smiled.
Ballyboden didn't require any heroics from the 2012 All-Ireland winner last weekend, though he did think he had made his last trip home in this campaign when Clonmel led in injury-time.
"I thought we had missed our chance," said Durcan (above). "In fairness that's the first time the (forwards) have put as many wide but in extra-time they pulled it out and they did what they had to do."
A public holiday in Qatar meant he got back for two training sessions before last Saturday night's game. He keeps his eye in by playing some nine-a-side games with Qatar GAA but given the quality of his kickouts, coming home was an important part of his preparation - the ball moves much differently through the dry desert air than it does here.
"I got away a bit earlier and got two sessions in with the boys. That was a big help and it was good to back. It's hard to get used to the weather kicking the ball, it travels a lot different so it's good to get back," he said.
Durcan almost walked away from it all. After their Dublin final win, he told club officials aside that his move to the Middle East would take him out of the loop.
Ballyboden however, wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.
"I told them I wouldn't come back after the Dublin championship because I was heading away," he explained.
"But they kept on to me and it worked out for the best."
And he hinted that might not be the last of his travelling as he revealed he is in regular contact with Donegal manager Rory Gallagher and left the door open for a return to the county set-up later in the summer.
"I would chat to Rory regularly. He's a good friend of mine. I'll look at that. He said get the Ballyboden thing finished with and see how you are feeling," the Donegal veteran explained.
"Rory did say to me 'do what you have to do for yourself and that's the main thing.'
"We'll see what happens over the next few months, we'll get this (club campaign) over with and you never know what the summer will bring."