DONEGAL’S panel for the Ulster championship quarter-final against Tyrone has a handful of alterations since the climax of the Allianz League the weekend before last.
Fringe players Peter McGee of Gaoth Dobhair, Mark McGowan from St Eunan’s, Naomh Colmcille’s Thomas McKinley, St Michael’s Antoin McFadden and Shane McGowan of Bundoran will concentrate on club football for the time being.
Manager Jim McGuinness said the door isn’t closed on the quintet.
“A couple of them were suffering from injuries and they weren’t getting a go at it as they weren’t getting a proper run at the training so we’ve released the lads back to their clubs,” McGuinness said. “Hopefully they can pick up their form there and then we will look at it again.”
Luke Keaney of Four Masters and St Eunan’s Eamon Doherty will continue as part of the championship panel having made their league debuts against Dublin.
Donegal’s footballers are now in a third week of their intense training schedule ahead of the Ulster championship, which begins against Tyrone at Sean MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey on May 26.
“We’ve upped the ante, you could put it like that,” McGuinness said. “The countdown is on really. Hopefully everything will go smoothly.”
Neil Gallagher has a groin injury that required a scan in Dublin the week before last and the Glenswilly centre-fielder is expected to return to full training next week.
Paddy McGrath, who also missed the fixture against Dublin, is almost over a quad muscle injury and should be training on Tuesday.
It’s a similar case for Neil McGee, who has jogged through training prior to his expected return this week following a knee injury.
“Neil Gallagher will be back within the panel in 10 days and Paddy McGrath and Neil McGee are ready to return,” McGuinness added.
Donegal have been without Karl Lacey since the All-Ireland final but he is within touching distance after a pre-Christmas hip operation.
“Karl Lacey has three more sessions of his own rehab to complete either in Dublin at Santry Sports clinic, our own medical team there or with us at the weekends.”
Ryan Bradley (hamstring) missed Buncrana’s All-County League loss against Termon but he and David Walsh are too eyeing a comeback.”
“Ryan has a bit of a twinge so should be fine and David’s on the right road after his shoulder injury and slight quad trouble.”
McGuinness was in Croke Park yesterday to see Tyrone’s 2-15 to 2-11 Allianz League semi-final win over Kildare. Mickey Harte’s team will face Dublin in the final after their 2-16 to 0-16 victory over Mayo.
McGuinness, the performance consultant at Celtic FC, will be keeping an ear out on May 26 to the Scottish Cup final after his employers beat Dundee United 4-3 in yesterday’s semi-final. Celtic will play Hibernian in the final.