Eamon McGee and Eoin Waide have joined the Donegal casualty list ahead of Saturday night’s Allianz National Football League Division One clash in Newry.
Gaoth Dobhair clubman McGee is struggling with a groin injury and is out of the reckoning for Saturday night’s opener, while a broken thumb has ruled out Naomh Conaill’s Eoin Waide.
With Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden definitely out for the opening three games and with Mark McHugh (groin) and Christy Toye (hamstring) also on the doubtful list, Martin McElhinney recovering from his well publicised ankle injury, both McGee and Waide would have been very much in manager Jim McGuinness’s plans for the trip to the Mournes.
“Both Eamon (McGee) and Eoin (Waide) are out for this weekend and could also be out for the next few weeks. Eoin was not able to play for UUJ on Tuesday in their Sigerson Cup game with the University of Limerick,” manager McGuinness told the Democrat.
Waide’s club colleague Leo McLoone played centre-back for UUJ in their narrow 1-10 to 1-9 victory down in Limerick and came through that tie without picking up any knocks.
The manager was a little less clear on McHugh, who was rated doubtful earlier in the week with a groin problem.
“We won’t know what the situation is with Mark until later in the week. He trained on Tuesday and seemed fine afterwards and is due to tog and sit on the bench today (Wednesday) for IT Sligo. As for Christy he has been complaining of a tightness of the hamstring but he trained last night and like Mark, it is just a matter of monitoring his situation over the next few days.”
With DCU’s Sigerson Cup game with Cork IT not being played now until next week the manager is hopeful of having McElhinney, who has recovered well in recent days, available to him.
Down are also missing a number of key personnel with manager James McCartan without up to 10 of last year’s squad, many of them first choice.
Martin Clarke, who has returned to Collingwood, Peter Fitzpatrick has emigrated to Australia and Kevin McKernan, is currently Down Under on holiday. Paul McCumiskey, Damien Rafferty, Brendan McArdle, Gerard McCartan, Conor Garvey and Declan Rooney are out through injury while Kalum King is serving a ban.
“It’s a big game for both teams in what is a very competitive league. But we are looking forward to getting into action and while Newry is never an easy place to go to, we are looking forward to getting our season up and running. And if we can take something out of the game it will set us up nicely for the rest of the campaign,” said McGuinness.
With Murphy, McFadden, Eamon McGee and Waide definitely out of Saturday night’s game, and with so many players on the doubtful list, there will be much speculation over the starting 15 between now and Saturday when McGuinness will reveal his first league selection of 2012.
Paul Durcan in goals, Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn, Karl Lacey, Anthony Thomspon and Leo McLoone are expected to make up the defensive unit.
Martin McElhinney - if fit - is expected to partner Rory Kavanagh at midfield, while the forward line will very much depend on how McHugh and Toye respond to treatment.
Ryan Bradley, Patrick McBrearty and Dermot Molloy look shoe-ins while Stephen Griffin may have done enough in the Dr McKenna Cup to claim a starting berth with Dungloe’s Adrian Hanlon also thought to be in with a shout.
The Donegal team is not expected to be finalised and named until shortly before throw-in.
Saturday’s game is one of three away games Donegal have in the league with the other two away to All-Ireland champions Dublin and Kerry.
Meanwhile, the Donegal boss did not wish to comment any further on the Kevin Cassidy situation and reports in the national media earlier in the week that he (McGuinness) had not ruled out a return for the two time All-Star.