Murphy and Rory unlikely to start

Michael Murphy and Rory Kavanagh, two of Donegal’s big injury concerns for Saturday’s Ulster championship Derry in Ballybofey, on Saturday evening, are being monitored closely this week.

Michael Murphy and Rory Kavanagh, two of Donegal’s big injury concerns for Saturday’s Ulster championship Derry in Ballybofey, on Saturday evening, are being monitored closely this week.

And Donegal manager Jim McGuinness admitted last night that both are serious doubts for the clash with the Oak Leaf Co.

Murphy has not played a game for either club or county since the end of March and since undergoing a procedure on a lateral knee ligament injury suffered in Donegal’s Allianz League game with Dublin, over nine weeks ago. Kavanagh is in rehab and receiving intensive treatment on an ankle injury picked up in a club game the weekend after Donegal’s preliminary round victory over Cavan.

“Michael’s rehab has not progressed as well as we would have liked and he is a good bit behind in his preparation and fitness and it is certainly not the ideal situation that he has not got a couple of games played in recent weeks,” McGuinness told the Democrat/People’s Press last night.

“But we are going to wait and see how he goes this week. There are still a few days to go and we will not make a final decision until later in the week.”

The manager says it is a similar story with Kavanagh, who wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Murphy in the win over Cavan.

“Rory has not trained for the past two weeks and it is also matter of waiting and seeing with him too. The consultant in Dublin told him he was in with a chance of playing if he stuck strictly to the rehab and we will monitor him closely over the next few days. It will be close to game time before we make a final call on his fitness,” insisted the Donegal boss.

With Paddy McGrath, Eamonn McGee, Christy Toye, Ryan Bradley and Neil Gallagher all having shaken off recent injuries with the exception of Murphy and Kavanagh, the Donegal boss has reported a clean bill of health.

“Except for the two boys everybody else is 100% and looking forward to the game. Preparations have gone well and we had a very good training camp. Everything went well in the camp and we got a lot of work done and a lot of things sorted out. It is now fingers crossed that we can put in a good performance in the game. After all that is what it is all about, just getting it spot on in the game.”

Donegal returned from a four day training camp in Johnstown House in Meath on Saturday afternoon and will train again tomorrow night (Wednesday) before wrapping up their preparations with a team meeting on either Thursday or Friday night.

The Donegal team is not expected to be finalised until Friday night and it may be Saturday before the starting 15 is finally known.