By Michael McMullan
DONEGAL’S visit to Clones for Sunday’s showdown (1.45pm) with Ulster rivals may come too soon for some of their experienced heads in the panel.
Eoghan Bán Gallagher, appointed as joint vice-captain by new manager Paddy Carr, has yet to feature this season but is back in training.
Ciaran Thompson was replaced injured at half time in their McKenna Cup defeat to Down, while Ryan McHugh has only played in the pre-season challenge games. Captain Paddy McBrearty is likely to miss the game with a hamstring injury sustained in their league encounter with Tyrone a week-and-a-half ago.
Michael Langan is still trying to shake off an injury carried over from last season, while Oisin Gallen and Odhran McFadden-Ferry are long-term injuries. Niall O’Donnell has taken time out to overcome an on-going knee injury from last season.
“Three or four of those boys are taking part in training sessions at the minute albeit not all full training sessions, with some doing more contact than others,” outlined Paddy Bradley, a coach and selector under Paddy Carr.
“The hope would’ve been, a couple of weeks ago, that three or four of them would’ve been available for round three of the league.
“Monaghan might come a bit soon, but definitely (by) the Galway, Armagh and Mayo games, we’d like to get as many of those boys as possible back in as quick as possible.”
Donegal have two points on the board from their win over Kerry in round one, thanks to Patrick McBrearty’s late winner before suffering defeat to Ulster rivals Tyrone.
Sunday’s visit to Clones is also a huge game for Monaghan, under new manager Vinny Corey, who are searching for a first league point of the year.