Experimental Donegal for McKenna Cup
BY CHRIS MCNULTY
AS EXPECTED, Donegal will be in experimental mode during the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup, which gets underway this weekend.
Donegal, however, have been excused until Wednesday night, January 9th, when they head for Enniskillen to take on Peter Canavan’s Fermanagh (7.30pm). Donegal have been given a delayed start to accomodate the team’s holiday in Dubai.
Donegal have submitted a list of 20 names to the Ulster Council for programme purposes and it’s certainly a side that has very much the expected experimental look about it.
It is likely that the panel will alter from game to game, with Jim McGuinness and Rory Gallagher keen to check out as many players as possible during the pre-season competition.
All-Star goalkeeper Paul Durcan has been named in the panel, but it’s highly likely that Aodh Ruadh’s Peter Boyle will man the sticks next week in Brewster Park and with Michael Boyle of Termon also listed, it seems unlikely that Durcan will feature until the February 2nd League opener against Kildare in Croke Park.
Donegal’s panel contains eight members of the All-Ireland winning panel: Michael Boyle, Thomas McKinley, Marty Boyle, Gary McFadden, Daniel McLaughlin, Stephen Griffin, Dermot Molloy and Adrian Hanlon.
There is a return for St Eunan’s man Mark McGowan, who has played for Donegal previously, while Gaoth Dobhair man Odhran MacNiallais – who played in the Match For Michaela in October – has also received a call-up.
Largely, the squad is made up of members of Maxi Curran’s Under 21 squad with the likes of Shaun McGarvey (Cloughaneely), Pauric Carr (Kilcar), Leon Kelly (Glenswilly) and Ciaran Cannon of Letterkenny Gaels among those looking to stake a claim for senior inclusion.
After the Fermanagh game, Donegal are home to Monaghan in Ballybofey, on Sunday week, January 13th, and they wrap up the opening series on the following Wednesday night, also at home to St. Mary’s College in Ballybofey.
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The Donegal panel that was submitted to the Ulster Council is: Peter Boyle (Aodh Ruadh), Kevin McFadden (Cloughaneely), Ciaran Cannon (Letterkenny Gaels), Thomas McKinley (Naomh Colmcille), Caolan Ward (St. Eunan’s), Mark McGowan (St. Eunan’s), Marty Boyle (Naomh Conaill), Gary McFadden (Glenswilly), Daniel McLaughlin (St.Michael’s), Stephen Griffin (St. Nauls), Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy (Naomh Conaill), Adrian Hanlon (Dungloe), Odhran MacNiallais (Gaoth Dobhair), Shaun McGarvey (Cloughaneely), Willie Gillespie (Naomh Colmcille), Michael Boyle (Termon), Pauric Carr (Kilcar), Leon Kelly (Glenswilly), Luke Keaney (Four Masters), Paul Durcan (Four Masters).
FIXTURES – Power NI Dr McKenna Cup 2013
Sunday January 6th, 2pm
Monaghan v St Mary’s Eamon McHugh
Cavan v Down Kingspan Breffni Park Niall Cullen
UUJ v Antrim Casement Park Con Reynolds
Tyrone v Derry Healy Park Martin McNally
Wednesday January 9th, 7.30pm
Fermanagh v Donegal Brewster Park Martin Sludden