THE HUGE CROWDS that turned out to meet Donegal’s football heroes in the county yesterday created delays in the team’s schedule that resulted in the postponement of last night’s homecoming in Glenswilly, the club of captain Michael Murphy.
The All-Ireland winning team had been pencilled in to arrive in Glenswilly at 7pm and Letterkenny at 8pm but the massive attendances that turned out to see the Sam Maguire Cup in various towns and villages in the county resulted in the schedule having to be altered.
The Donegal squad arrived in Letterkenny just after 1am in the early hours of this morning with officials deciding to postpone the Glenswilly leg of the homecoming in the interests of young children who would not be able to greet the players due to the late time. It will instead be held at a later date.
Traditionally All-Ireland winning sides only visit the home club of the captain on the Tuesday night after an All-Ireland win but the Donegal squad are undergoing a manic tour this week in order to bring the trophy to many areas around the North-Western county.
This is due to the opening round ties of the Donegal championship taking place this weekend and it was felt the players would be tied up with club commitments in the coming weeks which would prevent them from visiting clubs.
Over the next 48 hours the Sam Maguire cup is scheduled to visit:
Today: Milford, Termon, Fanad, Downings, Creeslough, Dunfanaghy, Falcarragh, Gweedore, Dungloe, Na Rossa and Glenties (the home club of manager Jim McGuinness).
Tomorrow: Glenfin, Killygordan, Castlefin, Lifford, Convoy, Newtowncunningham, Burt, Muff, Carndonagh, Malin, Urris and Buncrana.
Meanwhile manager Jim McGuinness has identified the squad’s first meeting in November 2010 as central to their revival from the squad which had the image of ‘party boys’ to the one which was crowned All-Ireland champions last Sunday.
“Our very first meeting we had on the sixth of November 2010 in Rossapenny Golf Club in Downings. There was an article in the Irish News and I opened it up, it was a two-page spread and we were rated 19th in the country. I held it up to them and said to the boys ‘I want your opinion as to why you feel we’re 19th in the country?’
“That was a very poignant moment for the group I feel, a lot of honesty came out of that. We broke them into groups, they spent 20 minutes on it and they came back in and there was a lot of home truths.
“They identified the fact that they weren’t fully honest with themselves, that they didn’t do the hard graft and they were cutting corners on gym work. It was a great moment I felt and it came from themselves as well, which is very important.
“After lunch, we had them for a few hours that day and we had another session in relation to ‘how do we get to Number 1?’ They sat down and talked about what it was going to take, how they were going to live their life, the training and their attitude towards training.
“Now here we are two years later and we are Number 1. And they have done that, not the management, they have done that. For me that is a fantastic journey to be part of.”