Thursday 12 December 2019

McGlynn puts in hard yards ahead of another summer slog

Frank McGlynn says Donegal are in 'good shape' ahead of the championship campaign beginning on Sunday. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Frank McGlynn says Donegal are in 'good shape' ahead of the championship campaign beginning on Sunday. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Chris McNulty

When Frank McGlynn took a call from Brian McIver in December 2005, he couldn't possibly have foretold the future.

A student in Galway at the time, McGlynn was home for Christmas and McIver, named a couple of months previously as the new Donegal senior manager, was holding a trial game in Convoy. A member of Donegal U-21s, McGlynn was called in 'to make up the numbers'.

He has been a member of the Donegal senior football squad ever since. Now with over 100 games under his belt, McGlynn is ready to begin his ninth championship campaign on Sunday when Donegal meet old rivals Derry.

The demands have risen and he's sometimes envious of those in a professional environment. With two young children – Harry and Gracie – at home, things can get hectic, especially when he's up at the crack of dawn three times a week for gym sessions in Letterkenny.

He had been rumoured to have been considering stepping away from the inter-county game last autumn, but those fears proved unfounded.

"Every county seems to be increasing the level of preparation for games and it's all about keeping up," says the 28-year-old former All Star.

"That means an increase in the commitment players need to give. It's a good thing for spectators because the players are so fit and you can tell by the look of their physique that they're in top shape."

For players, though, it's a punishing schedule.

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The day after Donegal lost to Monaghan in the Division 2 final last month, Karl Lacey tweeted: "It's days like this you wish you were professional, recovery session done but now it's a 12-hour marathon in the library #HeadWrecker."

Lacey is based in Limerick, where he's doing a Masters in Sports Performance. He and Michael Boyle, Donegal's sub goalkeeper, come back from Limerick one night a week for training.

McGlynn was once that soldier, during his days in Galway.

He says: "I came up one night a week. It's a hard slog. You're playing college football too and you're just trying a balancing act really."

McGlynn is one of a rare breed at the cutting edge of the championship. He's in full-time employment as a teacher in the compact and quaint Stramore National School in Glendowan which straddles Glenveagh National Park.

"I'm lucky that I have a good family at home to support me," he says. His wife, Diane, is a former captain of the Donegal senior ladies.

Questions linger about Donegal's state of mind ahead of the trip to Celtic Park following a potentially damaging loss to Monaghan at Croke Park.

"We were trying to clinch promotion from two or three games out and, when we got that, maybe a bit of complacency set in during those last couple of games," he adds.

"Towards the end of the league, your head does turn towards the championship.

"We've had a very positive couple of weeks and there's a definite lift in the attitude of all the players. We're in good shape."

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