Patrick McBrearty and Ryan McHugh are expected to be in the Donegal line-up to face Monaghan, in Sunday’s Division Two Allianz National final.
The Kilcar duo are expected to be in the starting 15 when Donegal boss Jim McGuinness reveals his team later this week. This was confirmed to the Democrat last night by the Donegal boss.
“Patrick and Ryan will be both in the team,” said the Donegal boss who, however, was not willing to divulge his final selection.
McBrearty and McHugh are the only anticipated changes from the team that clinched their place in Sunday’s final with a 2-10 to 1-8 victory over Armagh, in the Athletic Grounds, on the last day of the league.
“They are both playing very well and are also going very well in training. They missed out on starting the last day because of their involvement in the U-21 championship.
“And before that, in Patrick’s case, he was recovering from a groin injury. But he is fully fit again and is playing really well and we want to also get him game time ahead of the championship.”
Who they will replace remains to be seen. With McGuinness expected to keep faith in the back six of Eamon McGee, Neil McGee, Karl Lacey, Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone and Frank McGlynn - it is believed that Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy at corner forward and Neil Gallagher at midfield are the players under most pressure.
This would see McBrearty line-up alongside team captain Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden, in the fullforward line. Ryan McHugh is expected to slot into the half-forward line alongside Christy Toye and Odhran MacNiallais.
This would pave the way for Martin McElhinney, who played most of the campaign at midfield but started in the half-forward line against Armagh, to renew his partnership with Rory Kavanagh, in the middle of the park.
David Walsh remains Donegal’s main injury concern. The Naomh Brid clubman is suffering with a quad muscle injury picked up in a club league game last weekend.
Michael Murphy (groin) Christy Toye (hamstring) and Leo McLoone(calf muscle)all sat out club games last weekend. However, the manager is pretty confident that they will all be fit for Sunday.
“David(Walsh) is the only concern really, but we haven’t given up on having him. The medical team are monitoring him this week and we will know better after training on Thursday night.
“As for the rest of the boys I’m pretty confident they will all be fine by the weekend. Michael(Murphy) and Christy (Toye) trained last night (Tuesday) and we will see how they go again on Thursday night. But I’m confident they will be fine.
“Leo was working on his own with the physio last night and was running well so it is a case of seeing how he goes on Thursday night. But we are confident that he will be fine too.”
McGuinness is also happy, too, with the progress of Paddy McGrath, who hasn’t featured at all this season following groin surgery late last year.
McGrath came through a club game last weekend with flying colours and trained again well on Tuesday night and is in the squad for Sunday.
“Paddy is going really well in training and had a game at the weekend. But we don’t want to rush him and this game may be a little too soon for him.”
Monaghan are definitely without experienced midfielders Eoin Lennon and Gavin Doogan with back and hand injuries respectively. They also have injury worries over their ace forward Colm McManus and corner back Colin Walshe.
Meanwhile, Donegal referee Ian Molloy is the sideline official for Sunday’s Division One League final.