Rory’s race for Derry

RORY KAVANAGH faces a race against the clock to be fit for Donegal’s Ulster championship quarter-final against Derry in Ballybofey next month.

RORY KAVANAGH faces a race against the clock to be fit for Donegal’s Ulster championship quarter-final against Derry in Ballybofey next month.

The 29-year-old went over on his left ankle just nine minutes into St Eunan’s All-County League win over Ardara on Sunday and was later helped down the tunnel. An x-ray yesterday revealed no break, indicating it’s more likely to be ligament damage but the midfielder remains hopeful.

“As soon as I got the injury I knew from past experience to get it in ice as quickly as possible and we managed to do that,” he said. “There’s not much movement and it’s pretty swollen so we’ll keep it in ice. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a bit of mobility next week and then some aggressive rehab leading up to the Derry game. It’s touch and go but fingers crossed.”

Last week in Donegal’s Ulster championship opener, a 1-16 to 1-10 win against Cavan, Kavanagh marked his 100th inter-county appearance with a man of the match performance. He also captained the side in the absence of Michael Murphy, who is continuing his rehabilitation from injury.

Kavanagh played through the pain barrier last season, requiring surgery in October to have a piece of bone removed from his right ankle. With Donegal facing Derry on June 16, manager Jim McGuinness will be looking for his experienced players to be on board.

Kavanagh’s replacement on Sunday, Kevin Rafferty, made his first appearance of the calendar year. The centre-fielder had been sidelined with an abductor muscle injury.

Christy Toye played the full hour for St Michael’s in their 1-13 to 0-7 win over Gaoth Dobhair on Sunday in Dunfanaghy after a recent Achilles problem. Eamon McGee, who missed the clash in Cavan with a hamstring injury, played the same game for the visitors and also came off the bench during Friday’s 1-9 to 0-4 win at Glenswilly.

Neil Gallagher missed that match with an Achilles complaint but came back to help Glenswilly defeat Dungloe. Murphy is still on the road to recovery after he damaged his lateral knee ligaments in March and will see a specialist before Derry arrive at MacCumhaill Park to assess his chances of playing.