Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has confirmed Neil Gallagher will play no part in Sunday week’s Ulster final against Down.
Midfielder Gallagher went over on ankle in the first minute of a match between his club Glenswilly and Kilcar last Saturday evening and has since learned there is ligament damage as well as a fracture.
“The news isn’t great on Neil,” McGuinness said. “He had a scan in Sligo and he seen a specialist in Dublin. It seems nasty enough. There seems to be a good bit of ligament damage there and a slight fracture around the ankle. Sometimes these can heal very quickly but we’ll just
have to wait and see now how the thing develops.
“He needs to do everything right and he’s done everything right so far. He came off as soon as it happened. He’s seeing all the right people through ourselves and through the other people. That’s as much as we can do now but we’re hoping now more than expecting.”
Donegal put their Ulster title on the line in eight days’ time but McGuinness confirmed Gallagher will possibly be back on August Bank Holiday weekend.
“I don’t think he’ll make the Ulster final or the qualifier round the week immediately afterwards if we’re beaten in the Ulster final,” McGuinness said. “There might be a chance he’ll make a quarter-final if we get through.
“It’s disappointing for Neil because he’s worked very hard on things and aspects of his game that weren’t natural to him. He changed to way he plays to fit into the way we play and did that very successfully. He’s very good at winning primary possession for us and he will be a
big loss to us in the lead up to the match.”
Barring Gallagher’s unfortunate news, the word coming out of the Donegal camp in relation to others who had doubts cast over them is more positive. Neil McGee was forced off in the opening minutes of the Ulster semi-final win over Tyrone a fortnight ago with a hamstrong complaint, while Paddy McGrath, Ryan Bradley and Martin O’Reilly had similar problems.
“Neil McGee is good,” McGuinness said. “Paddy McGrath was under pressure a little, as was Ryan Bradley and Martin O’Reilly. Martin’s back jogging now but all those players, who had hamstring bother, are back at it this week.
“We were very happy with the decision to have the club championship put off because those players would’ve been under serious pressure to play in those games and one or two of them mightn’t have been fit for us as a result.
“I made a plea to the county board. I wasn’t going in there last Monday week with a serious hope of getting it off but really it was the club delegates that backed me. I put my case forward but the delegates who turned the tide and it was their clubs that were going to be impacted most. I did stress the fact that it wasn’t an ideal situation but it was a crisis situation for us.”