New faces for Donegal in McKenna Cup

Dungloe’s Adrian Hanlon is about to be given a reprieve by Donegal manager Jim McGuinness in next month’s Dr McKenna Cup.

Dungloe’s Adrian Hanlon is about to be given a reprieve by Donegal manager Jim McGuinness in next month’s Dr McKenna Cup.

Hanlon, who broke into the team during last spring’s league campaign and played in the championship opener against Antrim, was sensationally dropped from the panel last summer for a breach of discipline.

He is among a group of six new additions McGuinness has added to the panel for the Dr McKenna Cup campaign which gets underway early next month.

There are also recalls for Peter Witherow (St Michael’s), Mark McGowan, (St Eunan’s) and Christopher Murrin (Killybegs) while there are first call-ups for Glenswilly captain Gary McFadden and Kilcar’s Conor McManus.

Both Witherow and McGowan were in the panel in the past during Brian McIver’s term with the St Michael’s man having played in a number of games in both the McKenna Cup and the league.

Murrin was named in McGuinness’s first squad this time last year but an ankle injury meant that he was sidelined for most of last season.

McFadden, a central figure in Glenswilly’s march to the club’s first championship success, has played county minor and U-21 in the past, while McManus (a native of Mayo who moved to Cork in his early years), has been on the fringes of the Rebel County panel and won a McGrath Cup with his home county in 2009. He transferred from Clonakilty to Kilcar at the beginning of 2011.

While a number of players are College tied, with the exception of Kevin Cassidy, who was axed from the panel in recent weeks, most of the rest of the 2011 squad are available to McGuinness and are in the 26 man panel forwarded to the Ulster Council in recent days.

Donegal have three games in the opening phase of the Dr McKenna Cup in section B along with the University of Ulster (which will include Leo McLoone and Eoin Waide), Derry and Cavan.

Donegal open their campaign on Sunday, January 8th at home to UUJ in Ballybofey, before heading to Kingspan Breffni Park, seven days later January 15th, where they face Cavan in a championship dress rehearsal before entertaining. Their final game is against the champions Derry, on Wednesday night January 18th, under the lights in Sean MacCumhaill Park.

Meanwhile, the county U-21 football and senior hurling manager positions remain vacant though county secretary Aodh Mairtin O’Fearraigh said he hoped both positions will be filled in the near future.