Patrick McBrearty . . . expected to be back for Cavan
Patrick McBrearty is expected to return to the Donegal starting team for Saturday night’s clash with Cavan in Kingspan Breffni Park. (Throw-in 7 pm)
The Kilcar man missed last Sunday’s showdown against All-Ireland champions Dublin in Ballybofey, having suffered a groin injury seven days earlier against Roscommon.
Donegal manager Rory Gallagher confirmed after last Sunday’s draw with the all conquering Dubs, that Patrick had responded well to treatment and was making good progress.
The free scoring corner-forward has continued that progress. This was confirmed further by the Donegal manager last night.
“We expect him to be fine and good to go but we won’t know for definite until after training tomorrow night (Thursday) and we see how he goes,” said the Donegal boss.
St Michael’s Martin McElhinney and the Gaoth Dobhair pair of Kieran Gillespie and Cian Mulligan are also back in training and in the frame for action on Saturday night.
“Martin returned to training last Thursday night and was going well and took a full part in the training and had plenty of contact.
“He is working in Dublin so we won’t see him until Thursday night, but he will be in the shakeup.
“Kieran Gillespie and Cian Mulligan are also back in training and are in with an outside chance of being ready. “
If McBrearty proves his fitness, it will be a boost to Donegal as they go in pursuit of the two points that would go a long way in securing their status in the top flight.
As former All-Star forward, Adrian Sweeney, pointed elsewhere in this issue, in the absence of McBrearty, Donegal lack firepower up front.
This has been evident in that they only hit five points against Dublin and nine the week before against Roscommon.
Martin McElhinney’s return, too, could be timely as Cavan are expected to be dogged and physical as they bid for their first win of the campaign.
Cavan had no game last Sunday as their third round game with Tyrone fell victim of the weather when Healy Park, Omagh, was deemed unplayable.
The Breffni County are managed by former Tyrone and Tir Chonaill Gaels player, Mattie McGleenan, who is in his first year as Cavan manager.
Cavan lost to Dublin on the opening day of the new season and drew with neighbours Monaghan, in a low scoring tie.
Seanie Johnston is their leading scorer with eight points from their two games and carries the main threat in what is a new look Cavan’s scoring front line.
This is a must win game Cavan, who have three of their four remaining games away from home. Those away games are, Tyrone (rescheduled game), on Sunday week - Mayo and Roscommon (their last game).
Their only home game is against Kerry.
Donegal, after this weekend, will have three games left - at home to Tyrone and Monaghan and away to Mayo in the last round.
Donegal and Cavan have met 13 times in National League football with the last of those over 20 years ago, in the Autumn of 1996.
The game was played in Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon and Donegal won 0-10 to 0-6, on Sunday November 17th.
On the same weekend Donegal manager, Rory Gallagher, then a Fermanagh player, kicked the equalising point for Fermanagh against Longford in the All-Ireland B final. Fermanagh defeated the Eamon Coleman managed Longford in the replay.