Donegal manager Rory Gallagher says he will speak to Leo McLoone next month to discuss his plans for the coming year.
Naomh Conaill’s McLoone has not featured for Donegal since the 2-9 to 0-12 All-Ireland final loss to Kerry in September but Gallagher, who succeeded Jim McGuinness in October, insists he will not pressurise anyone.
“There’ll be no deadline on anyone,” Gallagher said after watching Donegal defeat his native Fermanagh 0-12 to 2-5 in the Dr McKenna Cup in Ballyshannon on Sunday.
“We said to Leo that we’ll chat sometime in February again. He’s trying to establish his plans. Leo is a fella who would get into shape very quickly.
“We’ll be open ended. The likes of Leo have had a long five years at it. The club has been successful too so we have to understand that.”
Gallagher is hoping to have as strong a panel available as possible for the Allianz League Division One opener against Derry in Ballybofey on Saturday, January 31.
Anthony Thompson last week confirmed he will be available for selection despite being based in Essex, where he works as an engineer.
“Anthony had said from day one that he was very interested in staying involved,” Gallagher said. “His work has taken him over there.
“We had to look at the logistics of flights, but he always keeps himself in great condition. Fitness won’t be an issue for him.”
Paul Durcan, Eamon McGee, Neil Gallagher and Michael Murphy all made their first appearances of 2015 on Sunday at Fr Tierney Park.
Donegal’s one-point win wasn’t enough to seal a semi-final spot and instead the last four will see Tyrone taking on Armagh and Cavan facing Fermanagh.
Pete McGrath’s Fermanagh side topped Section B, overcoming Donegal on scoring difference (+8 to +1) after both teams finished with two wins from three outings.
Derry surprisingly went down in Lavey against Queen’s, 1-9 to 1-5.
One man who won’t be part of Gallagher’s plans for the campaign ahead is Rory Kavanagh, who last week announced his retirement from inter-county football.
“Rory’s a top-class player and I think he had a lot to offer,” Gallagher said. “I spoke to Rory even before I got the job and he was saying that it would likely be his last year. He was very content with that.”