The Donegal team which takes the field for the Ulster Championship semi-final in Clones on Saturday against Derry (7.00) will have few changes from Armagh game.
The match-day 26 will, however, have changes as Mark Anthony McGinley will have the No. 16 jersey. McGinley will replace goalkeeper Michael Boyle, who has gone to Boston for the summer.
The 26 is also likely to include Malin defender, Declan Walsh, who returned to the panel after the Armagh game.
Other than those changes to the match-day squad, the starting team will be very close to the team that played so well against Armagh in the Athletic Grounds.
The only poser for Rory Gallagher and his management team is whether Colm Anthony McFadden will return to the starting side. McFadden was ruled out completely for the trip to Armagh after picking up a virus, but he was back training last week and will surely be pushing for a starting place.
If McFadden is able to resume, then he could start, possibly at the expense of Martin O’Reilly, although the manager may opt to start with the same line out which did so well against the Orchard county.
Saturday’s semi-final will be Donegal’s third game in the Ulster championship, while Derry have had just one game, accounting for Down by 0-12 to 0-11 in Celtic Park.
Donegal go into the game as long odds-on favourites, mostly being quoted at 1/4. Derry did not set the world on fire in their game against Down and there seems to be some rancour in the county with former star Paddy Bradley very critical of manager, Brian McIver.
Bradley was quoted this week saying that McIver would be taught a lesson by Donegal!
It was a strange statement given that his brother, Eoin, is a prominent member of McIver’s side.
But for Donegal, the only focus is on reaching the Ulster final - which would be their fifth in five years - and a crack once more at Monaghan.
For manager Rory Gallagher it will be all about getting things right on the day, especially getting the intensity from the start. He expects a much sterner test than that against Armagh.
“Derry are a different proposition. They are in Division 1. They were in a Division 1 League final less than 18 months ago. They have laid out their cards at the start of the year that the championship was everything to them and they probably took a more relaxed approach to the league as they built fitness,” says Gallagher.
For Doengal supporters there will be great interest whether Michael Murphy will be given a creative role or will be he posted at the edge of the square.
MINORS SEE FINAL SPOT ALSO
Saturday will be a special day for Donegal in Clones with the minors also taking on Derry in the curtain-raiser (5.15) also seeking to make the Ulster final.
Declan Bonner will have six of the side that claimed Ulster Minor Championship medals last year and like the seniors, they will be strong favourites to make the final.
It would be nice to have both teams in the Ulster final on July 19th, which would be creating another piece of history for the GAA in the county.
These are good times for the GAA in Donegal.
There is plenty of debate also in the county about club games which are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
It is highly unlikely that the county players will be allowed to participate on Sunday because they will, more than likely, be involved in a recovery session.
It is possible that players outside the 20 used on Saturday may be released, but at the time of going to press, there was no clarity on the issue.
Donegal supporters Travelling
to Clones on Saturday are warned of problems on the A5 & Greater Omagh Area. Over the weekend of Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th June, a number of events will be taking place in Omagh which will pose a significant challenge to the general traffic flow around Omagh Town.
The All -Ireland National Cycling Championships will be taking place and will involve some closure to Town Centre between 10.00 am and 4 p.m. To aid traffic flow supporters going to Clones should allow extra time for their journey or use alternative routes