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Saturday 3 December 2016

Durcan was set to take flight after Dublin final... but now he's in it for the long haul

Paul Durcan. Photo: Sportsfile
Paul Durcan. Photo: Sportsfile

Paul Durcan had his arm twisted, and he couldn't be happier as a result.

The Qatar-based Donegal netminder fully intended to pause his fledging club career with Ballyboden St Enda's after their county final triumph over St Vincent's at the start of November.

When Boden opened their provincial club campaign in Drogheda a week later, Durcan was in faraway Doha.

But then he was coaxed back for the Leinster semi-final against St Loman's in Mullingar ... and, as the X-Factor parlance goes, he's been "on a journey" ever since. One that entails the small matter of seven-hour flights back and forth between the Middle-East and Dublin.

"To be honest, I told them I wouldn't come back after the Dublin championship because I was heading away," Durcan explained, fresh from helping Boden past Clonmel Commercials and through to next month's AIB All-Ireland club SFC final against Castlebar Mitchels.

"But, in fairness, they kept on to me and it worked out for the best. I'm really enjoying it."

Flights

How did they change his mind? "They provided flights," he says, "and they have been very good to me for travelling and giving me the time."

Durcan's continent-hopping is one of the stranger challenges he has embraced. He remains undecided about his Donegal involvement this summer, saying: "I'd chat to Rory (Gallagher) regularly - he's a good friend of mine. He said get the Ballyboden thing finished with and see how you are feeling."

But the two-time All Star has enjoyed the jet-setting adventure with Boden: "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."

Especially when victory is achieved when all had seemed lost against Clonmel.

"I thought we had missed our chance," he says. "In fairness, that's the first time they have put as many wide - but in extra-time they pulled in out. Once we started running the ball, they couldn't cope with it.

Darragh Nelson coming from centre half-back and he got the vital score, and the penetration he provided was unbelievable."

Speaking of Nelson, the Boden skipper hopes that Saturday's brush with defeat will steel them for the final.

Very tight

"Every game we've played actually has been very tight and it's come down to the last few minutes," the centre-back says.

"We always say to ourselves that we'd like to go out and absolutely bombard the next team that we play. But it just doesn't happen.

"That's just sport. That's just competition. It just shows the level of competition in this club championship this year. It's unbelievable," adds Nelson.

"But being in these tight games, we'll definitely learn a lot from them."

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