The arrival of Declan Bonner into the Donegal hot seat came at just the right time for Frank McGlynn.
Last summer, the Glenfin man had his mind made up and had enough of the inter-county scene.
It was as if the decision had been made for him: He’d been replaced at half-time in Donegal’s Ulster semi-final loss to Tyrone, but worse was to follow a few weeks later in Sligo. Deep in added time at the end of the first half of Donegal’s heavy qualifier loss to Galway in Sligo, the board went up and McGlynn was called ashore.
An inglorious, unfortunate end looked to have befallen him.
48 hours later, Rory Gallagher announced his resignation as manager and Bonner – who was the early forerunner to succeed him – was already beginning his plans for McGlynn.
It took Bonner some time to convince McGlynn. After a series of meetings, the Glenfin man finally decided to give it a go again. It was the spring of 2018 before he came back to the pitch with Bonner’s mind looking to the Championship.
On Sunday-week, McGlynn will make his 60th Championship appearance – his 162nd in all – in the Ulster final after a landslide win over Down on Sunday.
“You’re happy with any Ulster semi-final you win, and we’re happy to get back to the final after last year’s disappointment,” McGlynn said.
“That’s where you want to be, and that’s where we are now. We will prepare well now over the next two weeks for the final.”
Gallagher was a big part of Donegal’s glory years, having been Jim McGuinness’s number 2 for three years. For another three years, Gallagher was Donegal’s manager.
Gallagher, it is said, knows Donegal inside-out, but McGlynn has a different slant.
He said: “I suppose it depends on what way you look at it, we as players have a brave insight into Rory’s mind, but it’s all on the day.
“We were very grateful to have Rory over the past couple of years, and he played a big part in some of the players’ success.
“But at the same time, there are a lot of new players in our team that probably haven’t played in an Ulster Final, so it’s going to be a huge day for them and a huge day for everyone involved.
“I’m sure both Fermanagh and Donegal will look forward to it.”
On Sunday, it was a different sort of feeling when McGlynn was replaced with 12 minutes to go. Donegal were coasting in the Ulster semi-final against Down when McGlynn made way for Mark McHugh.
A thunderous roar greeted McGlynn’s departure; almost a defiant nod by the Donegal faithful to last summer.
When he flung the Donegal kitbag over the shoulder as he left his home at the foot of Alt na Paste, in the heart of An Gaeltacht Lár, for another go, it was for times like this.
Even minus the red-carded Neil McGee, Donegal had 13 points to spare against Down in a one-sided semi-final as they reached a seventh Ulster final in eight years.
McGlynn said: “We were blessed that the forwards were on song again, and we put up a big score.
“We knew if we put up a big score, the defence will hold out our end of it, and that’s what we did.
“We knew going out at half-time that if we pushed on again at the start of the second half that we would put the game to bed and we did.”Tags: