Revised Donegal panel for Dr McKenna Cup

Donegal are going to have to stick with the 26 man squad forwarded to the Ulster Council on Friday evening after a number of the original panel were ruled out through injury and illness.

Donegal are going to have to stick with the 26 man squad forwarded to the Ulster Council on Friday evening after a number of the original panel were ruled out through injury and illness.

Jim McGuinness was forced to revise his panel at the end of last week after up to ten of his original panel submitted to the Ulster Council before Christmas were ruled out either through the 'flu or with injury.

"We were under serious pressure on Friday evening and we were faced with the prospect of having just 17 fit players including goalkeepers Paul Durcan and Peter Boyle for Sunday's game with Tyrone. It was a serious situation so we had no choice but submit a second panel of players," said McGuinness.

"Neil Gallagher, Kevin Cassidy, Kevin Mulhern and Daniel McLaughlin were all out with the 'flu while Eddie Kelly, Christopher Murrin, Paul McGinley and Jason Noctor were all on the injured list and definitely were not in a position to play.

"And we had a few others with niggly knocks and injuries and the 'flu as well. Indeed things were so bad that we had guys who were fine at training on Thursday night but by Friday and Saturday they had picked up the bug and were unwell and out of the frame."

To bolster his squad and to give himself a few options on the bench the Donegal boss drafted in Conor Classon (Ardara), Luke Keaney (Four Masters), Ryan McErlean (Naomh Colmcille), Kealan McFadden (Glenswilly) and Odhran MacNiallais (Gaoth Dobhair) from his U-21 squad. These were the names that were forwarded to the Ulster Council as replacements for the injured Kelly, Murrin, Noctor, McKinley and McGinley.

According to the rules, Donegal must now stick with this panel of players for the duration of the Dr. McKenna Cup.

On the face of it does weaken his hand. However, with Kelly, Noctor, Murrin and McGinley all ruled out for the next few weeks it means that they were not going to be able to take part in the competition. And at least now with Friday's additions the manager has five more fit players.

"While we were disappointed that the game did not go ahead and we did not get the season up and running with the benefit of hindsight it was probably just as well that the game did not go ahead.

"Because on Sunday we had a situation where Karl Lacey, Dermot Molloy and Leo McLoone were all feeling unwell and whatever about starting the game they certainly would not have been able to play the full 70 minutes."

With Neil Gallagher, Kevin Mulhern and Daniel McLaughlin expected back at training this week and Kevin Cassidy already with a couple of sessions behind him McGuinness expects to have a much stronger side available to him for Saturday night's game with U.U.J.

Meanwhile, so as to avoid a recurrence of the 'flu bug or a further spread of the illness most of the Donegal squad received the 'flu vacine over the weekend. The only exceptions being those already suffering with the illness.