As many of his team mates headed out last night to take in Dubai’s night life for one last time, Donegal All-Star defender Frank McGlynn was packing for a return to work this morning.
Frank, a teacher at Stramore NS in Glendowan, skipped the team holiday in the United Arab Emirates. Instead, he opted to spend the time with his wife Diane and newly born daughter, Gracie, and his young son, Harry.
While he admits the thoughts of a week of sun, sand and blue-skies was pretty tempting, it was a no brainier for the quiet unassuming Glenfin man.
Making the trip with a four-week-old and 19-month-old to the other side of the globe simply was not on the cards for either Frank or his wife Diane.
And there was never a chance that Frank was going to make the trip on his own. Christmas is a time for family and Frank McGlynn is a big family man.
“I would have liked to have gone on the holiday alright and it would have been nice to have spent some time with the boys. But it simply was not on, and besides it was nice to have the break at home and spend quality time with Diane, Gracie and Harry and the rest of the family,” said Frank, who also missed November’s All-Star trip to New York, due to the impending arrival of baby daughter, Gracie.
Despite missing out on the team getaway, the Christmas break has given Frank time to reflect on what has been a roller coaster season for Donegal football and Donegal footballers.
“Obviously, the All-Ireland final and the win over Mayo was the highlight of the year. But the Ulster final win over Down was special too.
“We were the first team from the county to put Ulster titles back to back, and for me, the fact that I scored my first championship goal was also special on a personal level.
“The couple of hours in Clones after the final celebrating with the rest of the players, the supporters and my family made it a memorable occasion and something that will stay with me forever. It was special, very special.
“But there were many high points. Of all the games we played I think the one that sticks out most in my mind was Kerry. That was a big win. Kerry are the Kingdom and because of their great record and championship tradition they are always the team to beat in the championship.
“They had beaten us well earlier in the year in the league down in Kerry; they ran up a big score against us that day, and to topple them was a huge result and a huge psychological boost going into the semi-final against Cork.
“It was for me, the defining game of the season. It was the game that convinced me that we were good enough to go all the way and win the All-Ireland. But overall it was a brilliant experience and I’m fortunate to be part of it and part of a great team and an unforgettable year.”
Back at school today, Frank is also back in training and has his sights firmly set on 2013. But he is looking no further than the Tyrone game, and the first round of the Ulster championship.
“That is a big game and there is no point looking beyond it. Jim was reminding us recently that when we beat Tyrone two years ago, they were chasing three in-a-row. The shoe is on the other foot now and I’m sure they will be going all out to knock us off our pedestal. So it would be foolish to look beyond Tyrone.
“Tyrone is the big game but if we were to get over them it would be nice to win Ulster, a third in-a-row and after that who knows; you are into an All-Ireland quarter-final and the last eight.”