Donegal manager, Rory Gallagher, has wished Stephen McBrearty well on his decision to travel to the US this summer and opt out of the Donegal senior panel.
He also said that door is still open for the for the 21-year-old Kilcar star to return.
“We said we would discuss that and if Stephen is serious about being an inter county footballers and wished to do that we will try to facilitate that as best as possible”.
The manager, speaking at the press briefing ahead of the upcoming championship game with Antrim on Sunday week, said that Stephen had found it difficult to break into the team.
“Bar a few cameo appearances, he just did not break into the team and those are the harsh facts.
“There are people ahead of him in the queue and he knows that himself.
“His decision now is to head to America rather than stay and train over the summer and battle it out to improve his position.
“I judge everybody by how they train every night and there have been a lot of opportunities from we began to train before Christmas to now to prove that the are good enough to play.
Gallagher said he understood why McBrearty would want to spend a summer in the US: "You could understand, the phones are hopping to America and he is not the only player in the panel who is getting tapped up to go to America”.
“I well know how it works”.
Gallagher added that he was “disappointed” at the player’s decision but added that “at the same time he had not featured that much”.
The talented younger brother of Patrick McBrearty, has been involved at senior level for a few years, but got only limited game time during the National League this year.
McBrearty was the star player for Kilcar in their win over Gaoth Dobhair in the opening round of club championship games last weekend, scoring 0-6, all from play, in the 1-15 to 1-12 win. He is expected to be back from the US for the latter two rounds of the club championship.
Gallagher added: “You would be disappointed if any player leaves the panel now when there is an awful amount of work put into them.
“I would be disappointed that he is going, but at the same time he had not featured that much.
“We had a discussion about that, he had not got much game time in the League and by his own admission he did not play all that well for the U-21’s.
“So he felt that maybe now was the time for him to go”.
“Everybody knows that Stephen is a talented player.
“He hasn’t managed to break into the team and hasn’t got an awful lot of minutes.
“We discussed that and how likely that was to happen and I suppose that helped in his decision making process.
“I wish him all the best”.
Better news for Gallagher and Donegal is that they will have a fully fit squad apart from young Gaoth Dobhair star, Kieran Gillespie, who has a recurring hamstring problem.
Towering midfielder Jason McGee is expected to he in contention for selection after suffering concussion at the end of the Donegal V Dublin All-Ireland Football Semi-Final.
He has not played any football since but could very well be handed a starting slot.
And, although four times Allstar Karl Lacey played no club football due to a calf strain he too is expected to be available for selection.