Neil McGee is expected to return to the Donegal starting team for Saturday night’s eagerly awaited Division One Allianz League clash with All-Ireland champions, Dublin, in Croke Park.
The three-time All-Star full-back missed Donegal’s outing against Roscommon through a combination of suspension and injury. He had been handed down a one match ban by the Croke Park Central Competition Control Committee after they reviewed footage of an incident involving Kerry full-forward Alan Fitzgerald early in Donegal’s meeting with Kerry in Tralee.
He subsequently appealed that decision but also suffered a nose injury in the incident in which Fitzgerald was shown a straight red card.
The nose injury also meant there was no urgency in hearing his appeal against the proposed ban ahead of the game with Roscommon.
The appeal hearing, scheduled for the week after the Roscommon game, was subsequently withdrawn by the Donegal board at the player’s request.
McGee confirmed that at the weekend: “I decided not to go ahead with the hearing. There was no point really. I had missed the Roscommon game and it would have meant having to go up to Dublin,” the Gaoth Dobhair man told the Democrat.
He also confirmed, despite not featuring for Gaoth Dobhair in Sunday’s high scoring draw with St Eunan’s in Magheragallon, that he had fully recovered from the nose injury and was fit to face Dublin on Saturday night.
Christy Toye, Neil Gallagher and Karl Lacey, who did not play for their respective clubs, have all been confirmed in the frame to also face the Dubs by Donegal manager Rory Gallagher.
“Christy picked up a slight groin strain in the Roscommon game. Big Neil has a slight back problem but they both should be fine and Neil McGee is fit again. Their reason for sitting out their weekend games was purely precautionary,” said the Donegal boss.
“Karl did not play for Four Masters because he was carrying a one match ban over from last season,” Gallagher added.
Frank McGlynn, hamstring injury suffered in Donegal’s third round game against Mayo, is Donegal’s only injury concern and has been more or less ruled out by the Donegal boss.
“He won’t be far away this weekend and we will not be sure until later in the week, though it may be the Monaghan game the following week before he is ready.”
Donegal need at least one win from their remaining two games, against Dublin, and Monaghan in Castleblaney, to secure a semi-final place.
“We will take it whatever way it comes but every game we play we want to win and this weekend against Dublin will be no different.
“If we win this weekend we will be assured of a place in the league semi-final. Last year getting to the league semi-final was a distraction because we had only five weeks from the end of the league to the start of the championship and the Tyrone game.
“But this year we have nine weeks and if we are lucky enough to get through to a national league semi-final we would look forward to it.
“And if we don’t we will look forward to the nine week break and preparing for the championship game and building on our fitness in preparation for our game with either Fermanagh or Antrim.