Fears over Lacey and Gallagher allayed

Karl Lacey is expected to return to training next week as Donegal continue their build up for their All-Ireland final meeting with Mayo at the end of the month in Croke Park.

Karl Lacey is expected to return to training next week as Donegal continue their build up for their All-Ireland final meeting with Mayo at the end of the month in Croke Park.

The three times All-Star defender Lacey limped out of Four Masters’ All County Football League game with Glenswilly on Sunday last with a hamstring injury. The Four Masters ace has not trained all week and is not expected to return to training until next Tuesday night at the earliest.

However, he is only being rested as a precaution as the injury is not too serious. The Donegal assistant manager Rory Gallagher this week described the injury as just a slight hamstring strain.

Meanwhile, fears over midfielder Neil Gallagher’s fitness have been quelled too with Rory Gallagher confirming that the big Glenswilly man is back training tonight, (Thursday). Gallagher was also withdrawn from last Sunday’s game in Tir Chonaill Park, after suffering a knock on his ankle.

“The boys should be fine for the final and the injuries are not too serious. Karl suffered a slight strain and he is being rested this week more as a precautionary measure than anything else, though it will be next week before he will be back training again,” Rory told the Democrat.

“Neil is fine again and he is due back training tomorrow night (Thursday). It was a case with Neil that somebody fell on the ankle and it felt a little sore but he has received treatment on it and is fine again.”

Martin McElhinney, who was troubled with a knee injury prior to the Cork game and was introduced in the second half against the Rebel County, is still receiving treatment on the injury. But the versatile St. Michael’s man is expected, unless he suffers any other knocks, to be fit for the final showdown with Mayo.

“They are all in good shape and with Karl expected back to training next week we have a fully fit squad and hopefully it remains that way now over the next few weeks and we have a fully fit squad for the final,” added Rory Gallagher.

Meanwhile Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has dismissed the notion that all the hype surrounding Donegal’s appearance in the All-Ireland final is a distraction for him and his players.

“A lot is being made about the hype in the county and the whole thing that surrounds it but I think Donegal people are entitled to go slightly bonkers about being in the final,” McGuinness said at the team’s All-Ireland press night on Tuesday night in Ballybofey.

“The hype is not going to affect us in any way. We have a very clear agenda for the next three weeks as players and management and everybody knows what their job is over the next three weeks. We are going to have very clear goals for the final and it is about executing them and anything else that goes on does not impact on us.

“They have always looked at every individual game on its individual merits and prepared accordingly and then went out and executed the given game plan for that day. That has been the way for the last two years so there is nothing that leads me to believe they will do anything different on All- Ireland final day.

“If we get beat in the All-Ireland final it will be because we are not good enough and that is the bottom line and it won’t be to do with anything else,” insisted McGuinness.

Maurice Deegan from Laois will referee the All-Ireland final. His appointment was announced on Tuesday by Croke Park.