Donnelly awaits news on defensive duo ahead of Ulster derby

By Katrina Brennan

WITH one win on the board, Kieran Donnelly will be keen to make it two this weekend when they take on Down in Ederney on Sunday afternoon.

Down travel with two wins under their belts and are on the “crest of a wave” says Donnelly, who must wait and see if defensive duo Che Cullen and Ronan McCaffrey will be available for selection.

“It’s one you always have your eye on from the very start because it’s an all-Ulster match and Down are coming on a high from starting well with their first two games, and the McKenna Cup too and with new management, they are on the crest of a wave.

“We know it’s going to be a really tough game, they have a lot of youth in their team and they’ve added a couple of players from Kilcoo as well.

“It’s the perfect game for our boys, they are really looking forward to it. It’ll be a good challenge and the fact that it’s at home too gives it that bit more spice.”

Donnelly hopes that Che Cullen will shore up his back line on Sunday after the Belnaleck man went off injured with a hamstring injury against Longford.

“We’re still waiting on Che (Cullen) to come back to training but we’ll know more on that on Thursday night but he hasn’t been back out with us yet.”

Ronan McCaffrey picked up a knock to his foot in the Offaly game and the Teemore man was unable to play for the u-20s against Leitrim at the weekend.

“We’re hoping it will be okay, the physio has been doing a lot of work with him this last two or three days,” Donnelly said of the progress of McCaffrey.

Cullen and McCaffrey would go a long way to nullifying a very potent Down attack. Albeit, they have lost one of their most influential forward players, Barry O’Hagan, for the rest of the season with a cruciate knee injury.

The Erne manager is well aware of Down’s attacking threat;

“They have been very fluent in that, they do look for goals quite a bit. They always seem to get that extra pass on inside.

“We have been defensively solid, even the goal we conceded against Offaly was one that came off a post; we weren’t cut open per se.

“It definitely is their strength and one we’re going to have to be alert to because they have pace in their team and they definitely move very slickly in the games we have watched.”

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