The countdown is well and truly on for the May 17th Ulster Championship clash between Donegal and Tyrone in MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey.
The Red Hands side got a boost at the weekend with their U-21s winning the All-Ireland title in a close battle with Tipperary.
Word also from Tyrone is that they have moved training out of their Centre of Excellence in Garvaghey and are now preparing at O’Neill Park, Dungannon, which they obviously feel is closer to the confines of MacCumhaill Park. It goes to show that Mickey Harte and Tyrone are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the big game in Ballybofey.
The doubts over the involvement of Sean Cavanagh were also answered at the weekend when the midfielder played for his club, Moy, and he will be ready for the meeting with Donegal.
The formal side of things for Donegal will be completed on Wednesday night when they hold their Press Night. It will be held in conjunction with the launch of the Ulster Championship in the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town.
Donegal manager Rory Gallagher will take his squad away next weekend for final preparations.
A number of the panel did not take any part in their club league games at the weekend, mostly as a precaution. Among them were Glenswilly pair Neil Gallagher and Michael Murphy and Kilcar’s Mark McHugh. Paddy McGrath missed out on Ardara’s win over Four Masters ; Neil McGee sat out Gaoth Dobhair’s game because of a hamstring twinge while St. Michael’s Martin McElhinney also sat out his club game at the weekend.
Anthony Thompson was the only county panellist to play a part in the Gaeltacht semi-finals in Ardara yesterday and he is expected to play some part in the final today according to Rory Gallagher.
However, despite the large number of players who missed club games, manager Rory Gallagher told the Democrat last night that everyone will be taking a full part in training this week.
“Martin McElhinney took part in light training today (Sunday) and will take a full part tomorrow (Monday),” said Gallagher, who said the same was the position with Mark McHugh.
“It is good that the players are now free from club activities. There was a wee bit of apprehension but thankfully they have all come through without any reaction,” said Gallagher.
“Thankfully we have a clean bill of health and everyone is looking forward to the final week of preparation,” said the manager, who said he had heard that Tyrone had moved their training base to Dungannon ahead of the tie.
After losing out in their first round tie in the Nicky Rackard Cup against Tyrone, Donegal have been drawn away to Longford in the second round. The game is scheduled for next weekend