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Emlyn Mulligan says a transfer to Dublin or Donegal 'was never going to happen'

The Leitrim star plays down talk of a move.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEITRIM FORWARD EMLYN Mulligan says there was no chance that he would use his year away from the game to transfer to a different county this year.

Mulligan (27) spent the summer playing Gaelic football with Donegal Boston as part of the year he took away from the inter-county scene, but is back in harness with Shane Ward’s squad since his return three weeks ago.

Mulligan, who was born in Donegal and has played his club football with Dublin side St Brigid’s in recent years, was rumoured to be joining both counties on his return, but he says there was no chance of him linking up with either Rory Gallagher’s or Jim Gavin’s sides.

“No, there was nothing like that at all,” said Mulligan. “I played with Donegal Boston over in America and you’ll always have rumours and speculation, but that was never going to happen anyway.

“Last year I was probably a bit browned off with the whole thing, but time is a very good healer and hopefully the year has given me a new lease of life.

“The thoughts of running around the field in the wet of December isn’t great after 10 months of sun, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it now.

“I thought I’d have missed it all year, but I really didn’t. I got up to listen to the Galway game on the radio, but other than that I didn’t miss the game at all.”

The return of their former captain to the squad is a huge boost for Leitrim’s hopes of exiting Division 4. Last season they came as close as ever to gaining promotion, but drawS against Offaly and Longford — who were both promoted– cost them dearly.

At last, having a permanent training base in Annaduff, which will be opened on 1 January, is another lift for the Leitrim squad and the former Melvin Gaels attacker says there is a great buzz around the camp already.

“After a few nights in the gym, we are back on the pitch for the first time this week and our first game is four weeks away. From now on you don’t be long getting back into it with 12 games in the next three months.

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Leitrim's Emlyn Mulligan 30/5/2013 Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“The first night I went up to the gym it nearly felt like I was joining a new team altogether. I hadn’t played under Shane Ward before, there are loads of new players and back room staff. Maybe it was the change I needed.

“The centre of excellence is brilliant. It’s been a long time coming, but it’ll be a huge asset for us. At least players know where they will be based every night rather than waiting for the text to find out.”

It remains to be seen if Mulligan is in a position to rejoin St Brigid’s in Dublin as he and his girlfriend are both in the process of trying to sort out their respective careers. The garda says he hopes to live in a commutable distance from Dublin and Leitrim, but it’s a waiting game for now.

“My girlfriend works in marketing and she left her job to go travelling for the year. So it really depends where she can get work and where we both can settle down. I’ve been in touch with St Brigid’s already, but I really have to wait and see how things work out. But I’d love to stay playing up there if at all possible.

“For now we’ll just have to see what happens,” he added.

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