Donegal returned to training on Tuesday night as they began their preparations for their All- Ireland semi-final meeting with Dublin at the end of the month.
And while Donegal boss Jim McGuinness reported a number of niggly injuries after a hectic weekend of club championship action, Michael Hegarty (pictured) remained the only injury concern as McGuinness and his men get down business in preparation for the showdown with the Metropolitans.
Neil McGee, Stephen Griffin, David Walsh and Christy Toye were all on the treatment table on Tuesday night but it was the experienced Hegarty who concerning the Donegal manager most when speaking to the Democrat yesterday.
“Michael has a bruised knee bone and while it is not a major concern and he has the best part of three weeks to recover, it is still a concern nevertheless. You never know with a knee injury but I think time is on his side and hopefully he will be have recovered in time,” said McGuinness.
“The rest of the lads should be fine. David Walsh has an ankle problem and Christy Toye was complaining of a slight hamstring strain while Neil McGee and Stephen Griffin picked up slight knocks too. But none of them are too serious and they should all be fine by the time the game comes around; everybody else came through the weekend games with no bother.
“With the exception of Michael (Hegarty) I would expect everybody else back on the field and training by the weekend.”
Donegal’s prospects also got a shot in the arm at the weekend with the return to action of Leo McLoone. The Naomh Conaill man, who suffered a nasty facial injury in the after match brawl following the Naomh Conaill versus Glenswilly championship at the beginning of last month, returned to action at the weekend in a club league game.
The injury ruled him out of the Ulster final victory over Derry and the dramatic extra-time All-Ireland quarter-final victory over Kildare.
“It is good to have Leo back. He came through the club game without any problem and he returned to full training on Tuesday night and it is just a matter of getting his sharpness back now.”
Donegal trained on Tuesday night and will train again tonight (Thursday) and on Sunday while McGuinness has also released the players to play with their clubs on Saturday night.
The Donegal boss, along with his number two Rory Gallagher, was in Croke Park on Saturday night for Dublin’s demolition job on Tyrone.
And he admitted that he was very impressed with the Metropolitians and the way they went about their task on Saturday night.
“They were very good, so they were. I was really impressed with their overall display. They were very athletic and are physically very strong all round the pitch. They are very strong around midfield and their forwards were very sharp.
“But we will be ready for them. We have three weeks to prepare for the game and we will work hard over the next couple of weeks and hopefully we will to get a big performance out of our own boys. It is a great opportunity for our lads to be in the last four and in with a chance of getting through to an All-Ireland final and we intend to make the most of the opportunity.”
An interested spectator at Tuesday night’s training session in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, was former Derry star and RTE analyst Joe Brolly.