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Durcan backs McGuinness in new Celtic role

The Donegal goalkeeper believes their manager’s move can only bring benefits for the All-Ireland champions.

 Donegal's goalkeeper Paul Durcan and manager Jim McGuinness celebrate September's All-Ireland final win.
Donegal's goalkeeper Paul Durcan and manager Jim McGuinness celebrate September's All-Ireland final win.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

DONEGAL GOALKEEPER PAUL Durcan believes Jim McGuinness’s move to Celtic as a performance consultant can only be an advantage for the reigning All-Ireland champions.

It was confirmed last Friday that the Glenties man will be taking up a part-time role with the Glasgow-based side.

There have been doubts over the ability of McGuinness to juggle both positions and what effect his new job will have on Donegal’s aspirations for 2013.

Yet Durcan can only see benefits to the latest development.

“I don’t see it in any way being a disadvantage. For Jim it’s a job and I think he is smart enough to differentiate between Donegal and Celtic.

“It can only be an advantage to bring that professionalism in. Celtic obviously just didn’t go with Jim for just the Donegal reason. They obviously saw something in him and I think that’s only to our advantage.

“It will be interesting. Seeing what take the soccer lads have on it as well. I can see the training changing a bit which won’t be any harm.”

Durcan bats away suggestions that the travelling will prove draining for the Donegal boss and reckons his managerial sidekick Rory Gallagher is capable of having a more prominent role.

“There’s plenty of people in the country commuting to England. You can be in Glasgow as quick as you can be in Dublin. I think Jim will be well able for it and will have a programme set out.

“Jim has got a good man with him. Rory for me was one of the most important people in the dressing-room this year. He gained a lot of respect from the boys in Donegal.

“He was an exceptional footballer, has an exceptional football brain and will probably come more to the fore now.”

McGuinness is moving to a club which the county of Donegal has always had a strong affiliation with and a strong hardcore of Celtic support exists in the North-West.

Durcan has several friends who regularly attend games in Parkhead and picked up four schoolboys caps for Ireland as well before Gaelic football consumed his interests. He cites fellow county men Packie Bonner and Shay Given as goalkeeping inspirations.

“I always admired Packie. I trained with him a few times. He was a brilliant coach and keeper. Shay as well was in touch with our trainer before the All-Ireland final sending us best wishes. So I’d have a lot of time for him as well.”

These days Durcan gets goalkeeping tutoring from Pat Shovlin in Donegal while in Dublin, where the Four Masters club man works, he is coached, along with Sligo netminder Phillip Greene, by Gary Kelly.

“It’s just something I had to take upon myself. I’ve been very lucky with the coaches I’ve got in the last few years.

“I’m going into my 9th year with Donegal and the All-Ireland final was my 99th game. I’m looking forward to the Dr McKenna Cup and trying to get to 100 games.”

GAA President Liam O’Neill has also offered his support to McGuinness in his new position.

“I’m pleased for Jim McGuinness and I wish him well. I hope he’s very successful in whatever he does in life and he continues to contribute to our games as well.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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