Patrick McBrearty . . . set to return for Donegal
Patrick McBrearty looks set to return for Donegal’s big game Ulster Senior Championship semi-final clash with Ulster champions Tyrone, in Clones. (Throw-in 2 pm).
While he did not reveal his selection at a press briefing earlier this week, Donegal manager Rory Gallagher gave strong indications that the Kilcar man is very much in his plans and is in the running to start his first game since last February.
“Patrick is flying. He is 100%,” said the Donegal boss.
”I suppose in and around the Antrim game, we were training him quite hard because he had missed a bit, but he’s back and he’s in fine fettle.”
The manager also reported that his young star has also finished college in Belfast and he is based at home in Kilcar.
McBrearty suffered a groin strain in the latter stages of Donegal’s Allianz League tie against Roscommon, back in February.
The injury has proved to be more troublesome than first feared and he has not started a game for Donegal since.
“However, he was introduced from the bench on a number of occasions and looked sharp when introduced against Antrim, in the first round in Ballybofey.
He scored 1-2 in that game after replacing Jamie Brennan with a little under 20 minutes of normal time to play.
When asked if McBrearty was going to make the starting 15, the Donegal boss said: “We would very much expect so yeah. He’s very much in our starting plans.
“He’s been training well and we know he’s a very talented footballer.”
His return to full fitness is a big boost to Donegal and good news for Donegal supporters heading to St Tiernach’s Park for Sunday’s showdown with the reigning Ulster champions.
It will also come as music to the ear of Donegal fans that team captain Michael Murphy and three time All-Star full-back Neil McGee are fully fit and good to go on Sunday.
They had both picked up knocks in a recent club game. But the manager reported that they are fully fit and ready to face Tyrone.
By and large it was a very good news story from the Donegal boss at Tuesday Press briefing in Jackson’s Hotel on the injury front.
Squad member Rory Carr suffered a slight knock to the shoulder in a club game last weekend. But the manager reported the rest of the squad was in training and that includes Michael Langan - who picked up a slight knee injury in a club game - and Kieran Gillespie.
The young Gaoth Dobhair man has been sidelined for most of the season with a hamstring injury suffered back in January in Donegal’s Dr McKenna Cup game against Cavan in Ballybofey.
Karl Lacey, despite sitting out a number of club games, is 100% as are Jamie and Paul Brennan and Eamon Doherty, the manager also confirmed.
“Unless something happens at training tonight or Thursday night, we’re in a very good place and we have everybody,” insisted the Donegal boss.
Meanwhile, other than the long term injured Conor McAliskey - out with a cruciate injury - and Ronan McNabb, ankle injury suffered in a club game the weekend before last, Tyrone are otherwise at full strength.
The experienced duo of Justin McMahon and Cathal McCarron are back in training. They both missed Tyrone’s 0-22 to 0-11 quarter final victory over Derry in Celtic Park.
However, speaking at the end of last week Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was unsure if they would be up to match pace and fit to start in Sunday clash of Ulster heavyweights.