Donegal welcome progressing Cork for league opener

By Michael McMullan

DONEGAL manager Jim McGuinness feels Sunday’s opponents Cork are on the way up and will be a tough test for his side in their National League opener (Ballybofey, 1.45pm).

The Rebels beat Kerry on penalties in the McGrath Cup final, a game the Donegal camp watched on the bus on the way to Saturday’s McKenna Cup decider with Ulster championship opponents Derry.

Key players Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Brendan McCole, Michael Langan, and Jason McGee could be in consideration for a return after their knocks weren’t risked in the latter stages of the McKenna Cup.

McGuinness will have to prepare without suspended goalkeeper Shaun Patton and Gavin Mulreaney’s appearance against Derry broke him back into action.

“Cork are a bit like Derry. They are a bit behind Derry but they are definitely on that upward trajectory as well,” said the Donegal boss.

“They will be buoyed by the fact that they have had a good summer (in 2023).There was a lot of criticism of that team over the last number of years but they have turned the corner now and they are making progress.”

McGuinness, now back in the Donegal hotseat for a second time, feels his side must follow a similar path and Sunday is a “big, big, game” in front of their home fans who would’ve gone home from Omagh disappointed after Derry bossed the second half.

“It’s important that we get ready to put in a good showing for our own supporters,” McGuinness said of Sunday’s visit of Cork.

With more of his experienced players on their way back, he will be hoping the “really stiff test” of playing Derry will stand to the group.

“We know we have fellas to come back in and we competed very well for 35 minutes and we now need to use the National League as a platform to get ready for Derry in the summer,” he said.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW