Monday 22 January 2018

Paul Durcan to miss Donegal's Championship bid after opting to stay in Qatar

Gaelic Games​

Paul Durcan will stay in Qatar
Paul Durcan will stay in Qatar
Paul Durcan
17 March 2016; The Ballyboden St Endas goalkeeper Paul Durcan after the game. AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final, Ballyboden St Endas, Dublin, v Castlebar Mitchels, Mayo. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Goalkeeper Paul Durcan. Photo: Sportsfile

Colm Keys​

Donegal look certain to be without their All-Star goalkeeper Paul Durcan for the forthcoming Championship campaign.

It is understood that Durcan has committed to staying on in Qatar and does not intend returning home for the foreseeable future.

Durcan left for the Middle East, where his wife was taking up a teaching position, after last year's Championship. He continued to commute back to Ireland to play for his new club Ballyboden St Enda's as they swept to Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland titles.

The same arrangement can't be put in place at inter-county level. Donegal manager Rory Gallagher had left the door open for the double All-Star to return in the hope that he would be back in Ireland for the summer.

Donegal still have some decent back-up goalkeeping talent with Peter Boyle and Marc Anthony McGinley filling in during the League.

Michael Boyle, No 2 to Durcan in recent years, could also be back in the frame having recovered from a cruciate-ligament injury. Boyle spent last summer in the USA.

Last November Durcan indicated that it was "time to make some money as football wasn't paying the bills." The 32-year-old's day with Donegal, which began in 2004, may now be over.

Meanwhile, Laois senior football manager Mick Lillis confirmed that former Galway hurling boss Anthony Cunningham has joined his set-up as a coach for the Championship.

Cunningham, who was ousted by player power in Galway last year, was at their recent training camp at Breaffy House in Mayo and it was confirmed over the weekend that he is now on board as Laois home in their Leinster clash against Wicklow on May 14.

"He was excellent with us. He brings a freshness to the whole thing, which is what we wanted. He's well-motivated, he's a good guy and has great experience," said Lillis.

Irish Independent

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