Defeats are hard to take - McGlynn

Defeats are hard to take - McGlynn
Peter Campbell @dgldemocrat

The pain of defeat can be the biggest motivating factor going into an Ulster final - so says one of Donegal’s most consistent players over the past six years, Frank McGlynn.

“You feel that low after a defeat in a final, but those finals also make you stronger and you remember things from those finals.

“They are in your mind coming up to Sunday and you don’t want those things to happen again.

“Hopefully when push comes to shove on Sunday, those memories will spur us on to get into the game and make something happen.”

Has it helped that you have already dealt with last year’s conquerors Monaghan?

“I suppose that we have got past them to get to an Ulster final. We usually meet them in the final.

“But the final brings something different with the actual preparation and the hype and the crowd and the anticipation and it is no different whether it is Monaghan or Tyrone, the same preparation goes into the game.

“The same distractions have to be put to one side and you just have to focus on the job given to you by management.

“It will depend on whether Donegal or Tyrone can carry out the management plan to the letter of the law will probably come out on top on Sunday”.

So what is the mood in the squad this year compared to other years?

“I think it is a bit more special but there has been a lot of changes to the panel.

‘The core of the team is probably the same as that which started in 2011, the younger players that come in like Odhrán, Ryan and Eoin McHugh, Marty O’Reilly have all made a difference.

“There is a hell of a lot of younger lads at training every night and the freshness and pace they bring to training is a bonus for Sunday, especially for the older lads because there is always someone clipping at their heels and are very keen push you off so it is massive that way that we have embraced a lot of the younger lads who have mixed into the group seamlessly.

“And the feeling and camaraderie within the group is just as strong as ever.

How big a boost is it to have Rory Kavanagh and Mark McHugh back?

“Yeah it is massive.

“Rory commands great respect in the dressing room and when he speaks everyone listens and takes it on board.

“Having someone with that level of experience at both inter county and club football and also with experience of winning tight games is massive.

“And having Mark back as well adds more experience of winning and maybe in other years we did not have that experience, that guile and this year when we do make changes, the subs really make an impact and all that can only be a positive.”

Tyrone in 2011 it could have got away?

“Yeah I suppose Tyrone had what they have today and that is six good scoring forwards.

“And for about 10-15 minutes they had us at sixes and sevens in the back line but a few massive long range scores kind of brought us back into the game at half-time.

“That was our first real test against Tyrone where we were actually competitive.

“Previously in 2007 things did not go our way even thought the same players were involved on both days.

“You just did not get the feeling you were involved in a championship match.

“But in 2011, the longer that game went on, the more we grew in confidence and thankfully we got that victory that day.”

Facing sixth final, any change from the one in 2011?

“Not really, to be honest I remember more about the finals I lost than the ones we won.

“Finals are there and you have fantastic memories of the celebrations and everything that goes with it.

“But at the start of every year, anyone who is thinking back about successes, it is not going to bode well for the coming year.

“This year is no different. After losing last year’s Ulster final it was an added incentive to get back there.

“We will be looking to avenge that defeat just as we did in 2014 for the 2013 defeat.”

Your sixth final, how do you keep going at around 29-30?

“It is easy to keep going with the players we have.

“Things were very different in those four or five years before 2011 and things took a massive change in 2011 in GAA that time and for the better from Donegal’s point of view.

“The success we have had has come with wholesale changes in the preparation of teams and the type of training that we do.

“I suppose the younger lads are blessed that they have had victories at U-21 and minor levels.

“A lot of the lads that were coming through in my era like Anthony Thompson you could count on three fingers or not even that the amount of minor or U-21 titles won.

“I think the younger Donegal players that are coming through now have that success and have the necessary level of preparation, whereas we came into the county set up without that and thankfully things have changed to the betterment of the game and the players.

“When you have that quality and that preparation, it is very hard to actually turn your back and step away from it.

“If you were doubtful whether you would get past the first round of the Ulster championship, it would be very hard to could commit during the previous six or seven months.

“But I think the squad we have today are fully aware of what talent and potential we have in the squad and I think when you have that talent and potential, you have to do your utmost to make the most of it.”

How disappointing was that 2007 defeat after winning the NFL and beating old nemesis Armagh?

“It was a competitive game for most of it and was very disappointing, coming after that NFL victory.

“We thought we would bounce on into the championship, but it was also a sign of just how good Tyrone were.

“In the back of their minds, they were geared for the Championship but I think that both teams today are also geared for the Championship.”

So how much did it hurt to lose to Monaghan last year?

“The same as it did in 2013.

“It is a year out of your life and going right back to the month of January.

“The sacrifices, the commitment and the time all just go up into the air.

“It is gone and at times you just feel you were as well to go out in the first round as in the final,” said Frank.