Rory Gallagher freshens the Donegal squad ahead of the Qualifiers

Tom Comack


Tom Comack

Rory Gallagher freshens the Donegal squad ahead of the Qualifiers

Niall O'Donnell looking back as some of the Donegal panel head up the Hill in Clones on Sunday

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher has freshened up his squad following Sunday’s heavy Ulster semi-final defeat by Tyrone in Clones.

Last year’s minors Niall O’Donnell, St Eunan’s; Mark Curran, Dungloe and this season’s minor captain, Peadar Mogan, St. Naul’s,  have drafted into what is a county development squad.

Peadar Mogan was also a member of last year’s Ulster Championship winning minor team.

Niall O’Donnell was also a central player on the Donegal U-21 team that won this season’s Ulster Championship.

All three were called up a number of weeks ago by the Donegal boss.

But they were sitting the Leaving Certificate exams and it was agreed that they would not join the squad until after they had completed their exams.

It is a great opportunity for the players to receive quality training and gives them a chance to train with the senior panel.

The three trained with the squad for the first time on Tuesday night in Convoy.

Curran is a recognised defender and though just 19 he has been a regular in the number three jersey for Dungloe this season.

He has been playing well and is one of the reasons that Dungloe are currently sitting in fourth place in the Division One League table.

Niall O’Donnell is an out and out forward and played  centre-forward on this year’s Donegal U-21 team.

O’Donnell turned down an offer from Rory Gallagher last Autumn to join the squad to concentrate on his studies for his Leaving Certificate.

Peadar Mogan played much of his early underage football as a defender. But Donegal minor manager Shaun Paul Barrett used him in a sweeping role with a licence to attack.

They have been added to the squad as part of Rory Gallagher rebuilding process.

The Donegal squad returned to training on Tuesday evening following Sunday’s mauling by Tyrone.

The squad also had their customary recovery session on Monday evening.

Donegal have drawn Longford in Division 2A  of the All-Ireland Qualifiers. They host the Shannonsiders, who play in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League, in Ballybofey, on Saturday week, July 1st, throw-in 5 pm.

And should they win game they will be out again the following weekend. Although the management will hardly be looking beyond Longford, in reality they need to win three games to get back to an All-Ireland quarter-final.



Meanwhile, the Donegal Competitions Control Committee has rejigged their All-County League programme for this weekend.

And they have also made provisional plans for the weekends of July 2nd and July 9th.

This weekend’s round of games which are round 11 in the fixtures schedule has been designated a ‘Star’ round of games.

This means the clubs will be without their county players.

This was confirmed by Donegal CCC secretary, Declan Martin, who also stated that they had got an agreement from a number of clubs that if Donegal progressed through the Qualifiers, that they would play league games on Sunday July 2nd and July 9th without their county players.

“We are going ahead with those games and we are putting it out to other clubs if they want to play on those weekends,” said the CCC secretary.

“We have six ‘Star’ games and this weekend’s round of games will see four of them used up. We are planning on holding the other two to the end of July.”

Star games and clubs being forced to play without their county players once again is proving a contentious issue with a number of clubs.

The matter is expected to come up again for discussion at next month’s county committee, which is on Monday week, July 3rd.