MacCumhaill Park being monitored ahead of game

MacCumhaill Park being monitored ahead of game
With heavy snow forecast for the North West over the next couple of nights MacCumhaill Park, the venue for Donegal’s Allianz League clash with Derry, is being monitored closely.

With heavy snow forecast for the North West over the next couple of nights MacCumhaill Park, the venue for Donegal’s Allianz League clash with Derry, is being monitored closely.

The game is fixed for Saturday night with a throw-in time of 7 pm and is due to be shown live on Setanta Sport.

It is one of two games in Division One of the Allianz League that are down to be played on Saturday night. The other is the all-Ulster clash of Tyrone and Monaghan in Healy Park, Omagh. This game also has a throw-in time of 7 pm and is also due to be televised by Setanta.

“We are monitoring it on a daily basis and liaising with the CCCC in Croke Park over the next couple of days, and that is all we can do,” county chairman Sean Dunnion told the Democrat last night.

“We will keep Croke Park briefed on the situation and ultimately it is their call.”

In the event of heavy snow over the next two nights a decision will be taken on Friday, with the view to postponing the game until Sunday.

This situation would also bring into play the possibility of a possible change of venue for the game.

“That decision will be taken by Croke Park all we can do is advise them of the situation on the ground here in Donegal.

A change of venue would bring Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon and O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, into the equation with sources suggesting that in that event Fr Tierney Park is the more likely option.

A spokesperson for the Sean MacCumhaill’s club insisted that the playing area was in good condition.

“I’m just after being down at the pitch and it is fine. There was some work done on it on Saturday. Terence McShea, the County Development Officer, had a machine working on the pitch and it is in very good condition,” said the club spokesperson yesterday evening.

“Setanta have been in touch and they are due to arrive here on Friday so as of now everything is ship shape,” added the club official.

Meanwhile, new manager Rory Gallagher and his backroom team of Gary McDaid and Jack Cooney will not reveal their selection for Saturday night’s clash until Friday morning.

This is due to the fact that up to six of his squad - Mark and Ryan McHugh, Ryan Malley, Eunan Doherty, Daniel McLaughlin and Hugh McFadden - were in third level college action yesterday

Eoin McHugh, who impressed in the Dr McKenna Cup, is also a member of the Sligo IT squad. However, he is currently out with a virus he picked up since Donegal’s game against Fermanagh.

“We are waiting to see how the lads come though today’s games before we finalise the team,” said Rory Gallagher, who was frantically trying to find a ground for last night’s training when contacted by the Democrat yesterday.

“We were due to train in Castlefin, but I’m just after getting word that it has started snowing in Castlefin and the pitch is not available.”

As well as Eoin McHugh, Neil McGee, David Walsh and Colm McFadden are carrying knocks and are not in the frame for this weekend.

“The game has come just too soon for Neil, David and Colm and we just don’t want to risk them. We have a busy schedule of games coming up and we don’t want to set them back.

“Otherwise, if the boys come through today’s games without picking up any knocks we have everybody else available to us.”

Molloy opts out

Gallagher also confirmed that Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy had opted out of the panel following the Dr McKenna Cup.

Other than the departed Molloy, and the inclusion of Ryan McHugh and Patrick McBrearty, who played with their colleges during the McKenna and FBD competitions, the Donegal squad is along similar lines to the Dr McKenna Cup squad.

See also Pages 92, 93 and 94