Kieran Gillespie . . . who is a major doubt for Donegal U-21s
After last week’s washout, Donegal and Cavan are heading back to Enniskillen again on Wednesday night for their Ulster U-21 Championship semi-final showdown. (Throw-in 8 pm)
The game was called off just a half hour before throw-in last Wednesday night after Brewster Park was deemed unplayable.
Donegal manager, Declan Bonner, was very disappointed that last week’s game did not go ahead.
But the extra seven days may be a blessing in disguise for Donegal.
On Saturday last he had as fully fit squad at a training session in Mountcharles, but after Kieran Gillespie picked up an injury in the warm-up before the Donegal-Mayo game in Castlebar on Sunday, the Gaoth Dobhair man is now extremely doubtful for Wednesday night.
All the other U-21 players in the senior squad came through the Mayo challenge without picking up any injury.
“Nine of the U-21 squad - Kieran Gillespie, Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher, Michael Carroll, Jason McGee, Jamie Brennan, Brendan McCole, Cian Mulligan, Stephen McBrearty and Michael Langan - are all away to Mayo and in the squad for tomorrow’s game,” said Bonner on Saturday evening.
“Hopefully, they all come through and are good to go on Wednesday night,” added the Donegal boss, who had a 10 am training session with his squad on Saturday morning in Mountcharles.
One man he was expecting to start was Jason McGee, who has missed Donegal’s last two games against Tyrone and Monaghan, after picking up a shoulder injury against Cavan in the league.
“Jason is fully fit again. He was back for last Wednesday night’s game for us and was on the bench.
“He trained with us this morning and came through with flying colours and as of now, if he does not pick up any knocks against Mayo, he will be good to go on Wednesday night.”
And there was further good news for Bonner last week. Niall O’Donnell, who missed both games against Tyrone, with a knee injury, has been given the all clear by the medics to play again.
O’Donnell is not in the senior squad. A Leaving Certificate student at St Eunan’s College, he opted not to take up an offer from Rory Gallagher to join the senior squad. He opted to concentrate on his studies and the U-21s.
“Niall received very good news last week and he trained this morning and was going well and is also good to go on Wednesday night.
“As things stand and as we speak this evening (Saturday), we have a fully fit squad for Wednesday night. So it is fingers crossed.”
Bonner expects Cavan to be well organised and is expecting a huge challenge from the Breffni Blues.
“They have put in a big effort and a lot of work and they have no distraction of players being in the senior squad.
“Their total focus is on the U-21 after a decision was taken at the start of the year that the seniors would not use the U-21s until after the U-21 campaign.”
However, he does feel if there is no fallout from yesterday against Mayo, and he is at full strength, his charges will be more than a match for their opponents.
The other semi-final between Derry and Armagh was also postponed after Healy Park, Omagh was also deemed unplayable.
Derry will now have home advantage for that game in Celtic Park, after they won the toss for choice of venue.
Meanwhile, the Ulster Council has fixed the Ulster U-21 final for Monday of next week, April 10th, at 8 p.m. with venue to be decided.
The winners of the Ulster U-21 title are due to play Dublin in the All-Ireland U-21 semi-final on Saturday, 15th April.