Donegal seniors not in Dr McKenna Cup because of the Colleges - Gallagher

Donegal seniors not in Dr McKenna Cup because of the Colleges - Gallagher
Tom Comack @dgldemocrat

The unavailability of players is the main reason Donegal senior footballers are not competing in this season’s Dr McKenna Cup.

This unavailability is down to two things, Rory Gallagher, told at Tuesday’s press briefing.

One was that the senior players in the squad were not going to be ready for the competition.

And the other reason was because the Colleges had first call on the players and Donegal had a large number of players tied to their Colleges.

“The vast majority of the players that I would see as our top 20/21 players are experienced lads that would not be back and have enough training done to play in the competition,” explained the Donegal manager.

“We also have 15 lads in Colleges and are not available to us, though I do acknowledge that Declan (Bonner) has done some trading with a number of the Colleges,” added Gallagher, who admitted that he wasn’t in favour of the Colleges playing in the McKenna Cup.

“I don’t think they should be in the competition. They play in the Ryan Cup, the McKenna Cup and the Sigerson.

“It is of no use to us as we don’t have access to all our players.”

He also said that he believes that the Ulster Council should look at the participation of the Colleges in the Dr McKenna Cup.

Gallagher clears the air on U-21S

Rory Gallagher also cleared the air on some confusion that seemed to have arisen between himself and U-21 manager Declan Bonner, at Tuesday’s press briefing.

Declan Bonner had expressed his disappointment last week at the amount of access he was getting to the U-21 players in the squad.

“The U-21 season started on the first of January. They had a game on the 2nd of January and all the players were available for the game,” said Rory Gallagher.

“We met with Declan in October, I think it was the 2nd of October and we met again in mid November, about a way forward.

“We outlined our plans which involved a lot of the U-21 players.

“We are very conscious that this is the last year of the U-21 and even if the boys go the whole way to the All-Ireland final, they will be finished in the first week in May.

“We have a medium term plan for some of those boys and he understood that.

“We have a lot of work put into them. We met this week again to discuss things again now that the season is up and running.

“We will operate the way we have for the last five to six years. The players will train 95% of the time with the senior team and they will be released for games as and when they are needed as always has been the case.

“The U-21s are not training midweek because they have so many players all over the country.

“They tried it last year and they found it difficult. Once the Sigerson and the Freshers are out of the way by the middle of February they will be training with them on certain dates but up until then they will be training with the seniors.

“Any of them that are not in our match day squads will be released to the U-21s if they have games.

“And there will be days when there will be crossover training sessions where the two teams are training and we will be releasing them to train with the U-21s.”