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Donegal battle for survival


MARTIN McElhinney was back in training on Wednesday night and the St Michael’s man could return to the Donegal panel on Sunday as Jim McGuinness’s men face Mayo in a Division 1 survival battle at Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon (throw-in, 2.30pm).

McElhinney has been sidelined since going over awkwardly on his ankle in the closing stages of the opening League game against Down at the beginning of February.

However, the DCU student was to return to training on Wednesday having had scans in the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry, Dublin last week.

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Although it is not certain that he will be in the matchday 24 for Sunday’s game against Mayo, it seems likely that he will be included for some gametime. His inclusion means that McGuinness could, for the first time this year, be selecting from a full deck of cards.

“It’s good to have Martin back,” said McGuinness.

“The good thing is that we have him back and training again. Thankfully all the injuries are clearing up and it is now a matter of building up fitness levels, sharpening up our ball skills and getting everybody into shape and ready for the championship.”

While a raft of changes following an eleven-point hammering in Kerry last Sunday is not expected, the Donegal manager could make a couple of tweaks with Christy Toye and Martin O’Reilly bidding for places, as is David Walsh.

With three defeats from their opening four games, Donegal are treading on thin ice at the wrong end of Division 1. Sunday’s heavy defeat in Kerry left deep scars for Donegal, but the manager is hoping to see a big response this Sunday in Ballyshannon.
He said: “We were disappointed with our performance in Kerry. We didn’t play at a level that we are capable of playing.

Kerry are a very good team and I believe that the boys will have learned from the experience and know what we have to do to reach their level to be ready for them when we meet them again.

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