NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Ciaran Gillespie injury blow to Donegal ahead of Kerry game in Letterkenny

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

Ciaran Gillespie injury blow to Donegal ahead of Kerry game in Letterkenny

Ciaran Gillespie in action for Donegal against Monaghan last summer

Gaoth Dobhair's Ciaran Gillespie looks set to miss Donegal's opening games in the National Football League after aggravating a hamstring injury in the Ulster U-21 Club semi-final.
Gillespie came on as a second half substitute but only lasted a few minutes before being replaced as Gaoth Dobhair went down to Watty Graham's, Maghera, in extra-time.
The defender, who made his debut last year, had made a great impression in the latter stages of the championship and was expected to be a certain starter for the league campaign.
Another Donegal senior, Cian Mulligan didn't play any part in the game, while Niall Friel and Naoise O Baoill were not able to start, O Baoill picking up an injury in the warm up.

CHALLENGE V MAYO
Meanwhile, Donegal had their final warm-up game ahead of Sunday's opener against Kerry with a one point win over Mayo, played at the Sligo Centre of Excellence yesterday.
Rory Gallagher fielded his strongest possible side in the opening half and led Mayo at half-time by 1-7 to 0-7, thanks to a magnificent Michael Murphy goal.
It looks as if former Leitrim defender, Paul Brennan, will make his senior debut for Donegal next Sunday, as he impressed in the half-back line.
Indeed, the starting team against Mayo may very well be close to the team that will start on Sunday next with Gaoth Dobhair U-21, Michael Carroll, a possible contender (see Page 31 for report on Donegal v Mayo game).
Donegal will be hoping to get off to a winning start in the National League and after a spicy affair between the sides in Tralee last year, Sunday's game is likely to have an edge.
After Kerry, Donegal travel to play Roscommon the following Sunday, before a two week break, and a home game against Dublin.
Donegal have four home games in the 2017 National League with the other home games against Tyrone and Monaghan, while they travel to Cavan and Mayo as well as Roscommon.