McGuinness opts for his lucky 13 against Kildare

Martin McElhinney

Martin McElhinney

Donegal will return to Croke Park tomorrow for their opening National Football League Division One fixture against Kildare with 13 of the side that started the All-Ireland final in September (throw-in 5pm).

Manager Jim McGuinness will be without footballer of the year Karl Lacey and centre-fielder Neil Gallagher for their opening league fixture against the team managed by Kieran McGeeney. Declan Walsh and Martin McElhinney will deputise.

Lacey had a hip operation before Christmas and is not expected to feature in a Donegal shirt until April at least, while Gallagher will miss out on Saturday. Christy Toye, who came on as a substitute in the 2-11 to 0-13 win over Mayo in the All-Ireland final win, is also ruled out with a virus. David Walsh, another substitute in September, is struggling with a shoulder injury. Paddy McGrath, Mark McHugh, Ryan Bradley and Frank McGlynn are all expected to start despite minor knocks.

Donegal team: Paul Durcan; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eamon McGee;

Frank McGlynn, Declan Walsh, Anthony Thompson; Rory Kavanagh, Martin

McElhinney; Mark McHugh, Leo McLoone, Ryan Bradley; Colm McFadden,

Michael Murphy, Patrick McBrearty.


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