Donegal will definitely be without captain Michael Murphy for next Sunday’s Ulster championship opener with Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park.
This was confirmed by Donegal manager Jim McGuinnness on Friday night at the county’s press night in O’Donnell Park. Skipper Murphy did not train on Friday night and has not yet returned to training following a procedure on a knee injury picked up against Dublin in the Allianz National Football League at Croke Park.
While confirming that his star forward had no hope of making the Cavan game, the manager did report that Karl Lacey, Eamon McGee, Ryan Bradley and Christy Toye, who all had been on the treatment table in recent weeks, had returned to training.
“Michael is definitely out and there is no hope of him playing against Cavan. He has not returned to training yet it and will be another few weeks before he is back,” said McGuinnness.
“If we get over Cavan, it is a month to the next game against Derry and we have set that game as a target for Michael. But there is no way he is going to be ready for next Sunday.
“But the good news is that Karl Lacey, Ryan Bradley, Eamon McGee and Christy Toye are all back at training and we will assess them over the weekend and hopefully they will all in the frame for next Sunday.”
Lacey has been sidelined for the best part of a month with a hamstring strain while Bradley and McGee also have been struggling with hamstring problems in recent weeks. And St Michael’s ace Toye has been out of action with an Achilles problem.
“There was a good buzz at training tonight and everybody is chomping at the bit to get into action and for the championship to begin,” McGuinness added. “Due to injuries we were only expecting 26 fit men at training tonight but 29 turned up and trained and took a full part in the session which was a pleasant surprise.
“I suppose it is the time of year with the championship on the horizon that everybody wants to be involved and fighting for a place in the team and the match day squad. But it is very positive and good and it is a matter now of watching boys and see how the go in training over the next few days and focusing on Cavan But it is looking good with the exception of Michael we should have everybody else.”
Donegal are putting the finishing touches to their preparations this morning on the second day of camp as the countdown gets underway in earnest to next Sunday’s showdown. And with an almost clean bill of health it’s all system go now in defence of the Anglo Celt Cup next Sunday, in Kingspan Breffni Park.