'You want as many games as possible': Paddy Durcan wants National League to go ahead

'You want as many games as possible': Paddy Durcan wants National League to go ahead

Mayo's Patrick Durcan of Mayo holds off Dublin's Paddy Small in last year's All-Ireland SFC final

Mayo’s Paddy Durcan has revealed how he battled through an injury sustained just four minutes into December’s All-Ireland final. 

A quad pull meant Durcan was restricted in his running from early in the decider and the dynamic defender knew his final was over when he suffered a second “serious pull” on the same quad prior to the first water break.

Such is his importance to the Mayo set-up, the man detailed to shadow Ciarán Kilkenny continued onto the break, but did not return for the second period as Dublin’s two-point interval advantage swelled to five to condemn Mayo to yet more All-Ireland heartache.

Whatever frustration and regret the 26-year-old harboured at having his final involvement so cruelly curtailed, at being reduced to a spectating role on All-Ireland final day, he’s since made peace and moved on from his injury misfortune.

“It is difficult when you're watching on,” said Durcan of an All-Ireland final second-half spent in the Hogan Stand.

“I tried to play that first-half. I probably wasn't at full output and the right decision was made [at half-time]. So you probably come to terms with that fairly quickly, in a matter of minutes, and you're trying to help the lads at half-time, to encourage them, and to say that there's a right chance for us to finish off the game.

I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a tinge of disappointment that I wasn't able to play in the second-half.

The continued shutdown of GAA activity has bought Durcan time to rehab his quad injury, but, even at that, there’s no guarantees he’ll be able to participate in collective training if inter-county activity is given the green light next month.

“I have been getting scans on the quad to see where it is at, so I haven't been doing a whole amount, only the monotonous rehab stuff and a light bit of running.” 

On how the 2021 season might look, 2019 All-Star Durcan said it will be very hard to squeeze in the National League if the return date (to collective training) is delayed beyond the beginning of April. 

Moreover, the Mayo half-back is unsure where club championship activity should be placed in the 2021 calendar.

“I'd love a National League to go ahead. You want as many games as possible. It would suit every team to get games before the championship; jell a team together, introduce new guys, which most teams are going to want to do.

Definitely, I want it to go ahead, but the longer this season does get delayed, it's going to be harder to do that, and not impact the club. That is a decision I'm sure they're analysing at headquarters.

Despite the retirement of six players in recent months, Durcan is confident the transition period for Mayo - which got underway during the 2020 championship when seven players made their championship debut against Leitrim in the Connacht quarter-final - will not be a disruptive one.

“We were lucky that we integrated a lot of young lads and probably changed the team around a good bit, so that’s a positive going into this year. There’s probably going to be more changes again this year, it’s part and parcel of sport.” 

The Castlebar Mitchels clubman declared himself in favour of the experimental rule, passed at Congress, which will see a penalty awarded if a player is fouled in a cynical manner inside the 20-metre line or semi-circle arc.

“You would see that sometimes, particularly down the stretch of a game, that there can be cynical fouls and the repercussion isn't as much. So maybe this might clamp down on that and benefit the attacking team a bit more. I'd be open to rules like that that improve the game.”

- Paddy Durcan was speaking at an event to mark his partnership with De Facto Shaving Oil 

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