Tom Comack email@example.com @dgldemocrat
Darach ‘Jigger’ O’Connor looks set to make his first start for Donegal since the 2014 All-Ireland final when Donegal face All-Ireland champions, Dublin, in Ballybofey, on Sunday. (Throw-in 2pm).
The Buncrana clubman (pictured) has had an injury-ravaged couple of seasons following the 2014 final defeat by Kerry.
But he is back and approaching full fitness and has seen action from the bench in Donegal’s two games to date.
He hit two good points when sprung against Kerry in O’Donnell Park.
And he also saw action from the bench last time out against Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park.
He replaced Patrick McBrearty when the Kilcar man limped out of the game with a groin strain in the middle of the second half.
O’Connor is now in line to replace McBrearty at corner forward.
“He missed two years of full training. He has worked exceptionally hard to get himself physically fit to play at this level,” Donegal manager Rory Gallagher said earlier this week.
“We see some good moments of that. He’s still only 60 or 70 per cent, but he’s working hard at it.
“Over the next few weeks, we’ll get a good few minutes into him.
“Wee Jigger is one option. We could play Michael (Murphy) closer to goal and Stephen McBrearty is back again too,” he added.
However, given the captain’s performance in the middle of the field against Roscommon last time out, that does not seem to be a runner.
The other possible option is McBrearty’s brother Stephen. However, the younger of the Kilcar brothers is only on his way back from injury and has seen no game time so far in the league.
Frank McGlynn is also an option but the Glenfin man, who was a little later than the rest returning to training, may not have 70 minutes in his legs, and may be held in reserve.
The All-Ireland champions come to Ballybofey on the back of a six point win over Cavan, in their first game and a draw last time out.
They also take a 31 game unbeaten run in league and championship into Sunday’s game.
Donegal are unbeaten in league or championship in Ballybofey, since May 2010, 15 games.
Donegal officials are expecting a crowd of in the region of 14,000 in MacCumhaill Park for the game.
See page 75 for Rory Gallagher interview