Donegal to appeal McGee red card

Donegal are to appeal the straight red card picked up by Neil McGee in Sunday's Dr. McKenna Cup clash with Tyrone in Edendork.

Donegal are to appeal the straight red card picked up by Neil McGee in Sunday's Dr. McKenna Cup clash with Tyrone in Edendork.

McGee received his marching orders from referee Joe McQuillan in the early minutes of the second half of Sunday's encounter for a late shoulder charge on Tyrone's Brian McGuigan as he got a shot in on goal.

The official took the decision after consulting with one of his linesmen. The red card seemed harsh at the time and his dismissal followed the red card received by Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh in the closing seconds of the first half.

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness after the game was insisting that it was no more than a late shoulder and that they would be definitely appealing the decision.

Confirming the decision yesterday afternoon (Monday) to appeal Donegal secretary Aodh Mairtin O'Fearraigh said that they had reviewed a recording of the incident and they were satisfied that they had a good case.

"The general feeling afterwards was that the sending off was a little harsh and after viewing a recording of the incident today we had no hesitation in appealing the decision. And from what we saw in the recording we feel we have a very good case," said Aodh Mairtin.

As things stand McGee is facing an automatic four week ban and the prospect of not only missing Saturday night's final game in Section A of the Dr. McKenna Cup with Fermanagh but also the opening two games in the Allianz National League.

Donegal open their Division Two campaign at home to Sligo on Saturday night week February 5th, and ironically they play Tyrone two weeks later on Saturday February 19th in Healy Park, just hours before a possible one month suspension would be up.

McGee is a vital cog in the Donegal defence and was the county's most consistent performer last season and had begun 2011 in impressive fashion against UUJ in the first game of the Dr. McKenna Cup. He was also going well in Sunday's encounter until he got his marching orders.

But given the current injury crisis and the weakened panel Jim McGuinness is working off, the Gaoth Dobhair man's absence from the edge of the square would be a huge loss and would seriously weaken the Donegal defence.

Donegal officials and supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed that Ulster Council officials look favourably on their appeal.

The Ulster Council were notified of the appeal yesterday and it is hoped that the provincial body will give it priority attention.

Meanwhile, the secretary has confirmed that the county has no plans to ask the Ulster Council to give Donegal some latitude on the 26 man panel already submitted to the Council for the Dr. McKenna Cup.

Jim McGuinness intimated on Sunday evening that due to the injury crisis in the Donegal squad that saw him with just two outfield subs for the second weekend in-a-row, they were going to have to go back to the provincial body and see if they could tweak the rules and make a special case for Donegal.

Otherwise the Donegal boss warned that Donegal might not be able to field a team against Fermanagh on Saturday night in Ballybofey.

A win for Donegal on Saturday night might well propel them into the semi-final of the competition. They will watch with interest the game between Monaghan and Cavan in Inniskeen on Wednesday night.

If Monaghan overcome their local rivals in that match, then a win for Donegal on Saturday night could secure them a semi-final berth - ironically almost certainly against Tyrone. Armagh, though, with a similar scoring average to Donegal, are also in the shake-up and they face St Mary's in their final group game.