Christy Toye and Frank McGlynn are set to return to the Donegal starting line-up for Sunday’s Dr McKenna Cup clash with QUB, in Ballybofey (2.00 p.m.)
The return of Toye and McGlynn for their first outings since last September’s All-Ireland final are a big boost to new manager Rory Gallagher.
Gallagher is hoping his charges can bounce back from last Sunday’s 11 point defeat away to Derry in Owenbeg.
The return of former All-Star defender McGlynn and the versatile Toye, will most definitely strengthen Gallagher’s hand for the clash with the Belfast Students.
“The two boys are going well in training and it is great to have them back. They both will definitely be in from the start,” said Gallagher.Odhran MacNiallais, another of the recognised first choice players, is also expected to face the Students. The Gaoth Dobhair man was named to start last weekend’s opener against Derry, but cried off before the game with ‘flu.
Paddy McGrath and Declan Walsh, who both missed the Oak Leaf clash, are also expected to return to the starting 15.
“The two boys, Paddy and Declan, trained in Dublin last night (Tuesday) and Odhran trained with us and they all came through no problem.
“Like Odhran, Paddy had the ‘flu and should be fine. In the case of Declan he felt a tightening of the hamstring last Sunday, so we didn’t want to risk him. It is a matter of waiting now to see if he has any reaction to last night’s training before making a final decision whether to start him or not.”
Mark McHugh, who returned last weekend after a year out, is set to miss the game with a quad injury.
“Mark went into last weekend’s game with a slight quad strain and it is still bothering him so we are not going to risk him,” explained the Donegal boss.
Eamon Ward, who made his debut last Sunday, is a slight injury worry. The Glenswilly number three tweaked a muscle in his back in the first half and did not train on Tuesday night.
“We will monitor Eamon over the next 24 hours or so before making a final call. Otherwise we are fine. Cory Gallagher went over on his ankle last Sunday, but he trained last night no bother and should be fine.”
After last weekend’s defeat to Derry, the Donegal boss is anxious to register his first win on Sunday.
“I know we were understrength but we were disappointed with our second half performance against Derry and we will be looking for a big improvement this Sunday.
“The focus is on getting a better performance and hopefully that will bring the win. We are not thinking about Fermanagh or qualification this week. The total focus is on Queen’s.”
Queen’s are managed by James McCartan and they lost their opening game 1-13 to 0-9 against Fermanagh, in Brewster Park.
The Donegal team for Sunday is:
1 Michael Boyle An Tearmann
2 Conor Parke Naomh Adhamhnáin
3 Éamonn Doherty Naomh Adhamhnáin
4 Paddy McGrath Ard an Ratha
5 Ciarán McGinley Cill Chartha
6 Declan Walsh Málainn
7 Frank McGlynn Ghleann Fhinne
8 Martin McElhinney Naomh Mícheál
9 Christy Toye Naomh Mícheál
10 Cory Gallagher An Clochán Liath
11 Odhrán Mac Niallais Gaoth Dobhair
12 Eoin McHugh Cill Chartha
13 Daniel McLaughlin Naomh Mícheál
14 Hugh McFadden Na Cealla Beaga
15 Martin O’Reilly Seán MacCumhaill
16 Mark Anthony McGinley Naomh Mícheál
17 Joe Gibbons Gleann Súilí
18 Sean Hensey Naomh Adhmhnáin
19 Éamonn Ward Gleann Súilí
20 Eunan Doherty Naomh Conaill
21 Ciaran McCaughey Realt na Mara BunDobhrain
22 Gary McFadden Gleann Súilí
23 Dermot Molloy Naomh Conaill
24 Ryan Malley Ard an Ratha
25 Malachy McDermott Bun an Phobail
26 Willie Gillespie Naomh Cholmcille