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'The door is never closed for anyone' - Paul Durcan on potential Mark McHugh comeback

McHugh was one of four players to depart the Donegal panel before their Ulster Championship opener.

Mark McHugh's Donegal departure took most people by surprise.
Mark McHugh's Donegal departure took most people by surprise.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

LIKE MOST PEOPLE, Donegal’s Paul Durcan was caught by surprise when it was announced that Mark McHugh and three other members of the panel had left the squad in the wake of their Division 2 league final loss to Monaghan.

However, despite the departures coming just weeks before the start of this year’s Ulster Championship, the All-Ireland winning shot-stopper holds no hard feelings towards McHugh.

“We all like Mark and it’s a tough decision for him and training has been going very well and we haven’t noticed a change.

“It’s highly competitive in there and all the lads are moving forward and in fairness it was a tough call for Mark to make but you have to respect it and we will move on ourselves.”

Earlier this week, Mayo captain Andy Moran suggested that McHugh would be back before the season is out. It’s a move Durcan admits could happen.

“The boys made it clear that the door is never closed for anyone.

“Mark is a huge part of Donegal football the last few years and we have something to do now and that’s beat Derry and we will move on ourselves and try and put that to the back of our heads.”

Launch of Newstalk 106-108 FM's 2014 GAA Coverage and All-Star Panel Paul Durcan (middle) was on hand to help Newstalk launch their GAA Championships coverage on Friday. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

Donegal kick off their Ulster campaign with a trip to Celtic Park to face Derry on May 25 but with the northern province being so competitive this year, Durcan was disappointed to have lost to a local rival in the Allianz National Football League Division 2 final.

“It was disappointing we got turned over by Monaghan but they were the better team on the day and we knew it after.

“It was something we had to face and was tough to take but we got back down to training on the Tuesday night and it went well.

“We kicked on from there so everything is very competitive and it’s working out well.”

However, Durcan feels Donegal must put the Division 2 final behind them with the focus now on getting their hands back on the Anglo-Celt Cup.

“The championship is the main focus all the time but when you are playing another Ulster team in a final you’d want to win and it was a hard pill to swallow but we have to move on and there is bigger fish to fry in the sense of the Ulster championship and that’s what we are looking forward to.

” While [the loss to Monaghan] was hard to take but there is more to take this year.”

Brendan Cummins and Tomás Ó Sé the new analysts for The Sunday Game in 2014

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Steve O'Rourke

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