Karl Lacey, four time All-Star, will be fit for Donegal’s Ulster Senior Championship final meeting with either Monaghan or Cavan.
That was the good news to emerge from the Donegal squad this week in the aftermath of last Sunday’s 0-12 to 0-9 Ulster semi-final victory over Down in Cavan.
Lacey, who was not togged for last Sunday’s clash with the Mourne County, was back doing some light jogging on Tuesday night and was continuing his rehab following recent minor surgery on a knee injury.
The 2013, Footballer of the Year will not feature for Four Masters this weekend in the championship. But he is expected to return to full training as early as next week.
“Karl is coming on fine and is continuing with his rehab and is expected to return to full training next Tuesday night,” Donegal assistant manager Rory Gallagher told the Democrat .
“Unfortunately, he will not be ready to play for the club this weekend in the championship; the game has just come a week too soon. But he will be fit for the Ulster final. In fact I’m 100% sure that he will be fit for the Ulster final.
“It was only minor surgery on the knee and he has been keeping himself in good shape and it is only a matter of building up his sharpness between now and the final.”
Gallagher also had good news on All-Star midfielder, Neil Gallagher, who missed last Sunday’s encounter with Down due to a knee ligament injury picked up in Glenswilly’s second round championship game with Bundoran.
“Neil is coming on well, too, but is just probably a week behind Karl. We would expect him to return to full training the week after next and all going well Neil will also be fit to play in the final.”
The news that both Karl Lacey and Neil Gallagher, two of the main architects of Donegal’s great run last summer to All-Ireland glory, will be music to the ears of Donegal followers everywhere. The news will also put the fear of God in those teams still in the championship and especially Cavan or Monaghan, who will face Donegal in the Ulster decider.
Cavan and Monaghan meet in the second of the Ulster semi-finals this Saturday evening in St. Tiernach’s Park in Clones.
The Ulster final is on Sunday July 21st, also in St. Tiernach’s Park, throw-in 4 pm.
Donegal had their customary post match recovery session on Monday night in the Aura Leisure Centre and they trained again on Tuesday night.
And other than Karl Lacey and Neil Gallagher along with Frank McGlynn and Ryan Bradley, who both suffered concussion in last Sunday’s game, the assistant manager reported no further injuries from the weekend’s bruising Kingspan Breffni Park encounter.
“We had a good session on Tuesday night and with the exception of the boys in Dublin and the few lads that are carrying knocks we had everybody else. We didn’t ask the boys - Karl Lacey, Declan Walsh and Paul Durcan - in Dublin to come down. They trained on their own.”
Following the decision of the Donegal CCC to bring forward the four senior championship games fixed for Sunday,to Saturday night, Jim McGuinness and Rory Gallagher will take the players in on Sunday morning for another recovery session.
And then it will be down to work in earnest on Tuesday night in preparation for the final and that bid for a third Ulster championship in a row.
“Cavan and Monaghan will have played at that stage so we will know who our opposition in the final is going to be so we can begin our focus on whoever it is and the final,” said Gallagher.
Donegal, McGuinness and Gallagher will be hoping to continue their great unbeaten run in Ulster