BY CHRIS MCNULTY
ASIDE from the injuries that have ruled All-Stars Neil Gallagher and Karl Lacey out of the running, the news from Donegal’s weekend training camp in Downings was all upbeat ahead of Sunday’s Ulster semi-final against Down in Cavan.
Gallagher and Lacey will sit out the game in Breffni Park because of knee injuries that are likely to keep them sidelined for a fortnight, but manager Jim McGuinness has given the thumbs up to the fitness of Frank McGlynn.
The Glenfin man was forced to withdraw early from the win over Tyrone last month with a hamstring injury. However, he was back in training on Thursday night and took a full part in Downings to confirm his availability.
David Walsh is also back in full training, while Mark McHugh and Anthony Thompson have also recovered from the hamstring ailments that curtailed their involvement in the win over the Red Hands.
Lacey has only just returned after a lengthy lay-off due to a hip injury, but the Four Masters man also had to have knee surgery last week and will now miss his first Championship game in nine years. Gallagher injured a knee in Glenswilly’s Championship clash with Bundoran last weekend and will also miss out on a game that is the repeat of last year’s Ulster final.
“Every manager wants all of his players available, but it doesn’t happen that way,” McGuinness said last night.
“They are very important, integral players for us. They have been over the last couple of years, but we have had to do without major players in major games before. There will now be other people who’ll get a chance to come in and do a job for us – that’s what we’ve been trying to do in terms of creating depth.”
Ross Wherity, a goalscoring sub against Tyrone, is firmly in the frame for inclusion from the start this time around, as is McHugh, who has been in fine form for Kilcar in the last two weeks and who has returned to full fitness. Declan Walsh, in the absence of Lacey, should again profit in the half-back line, while Wherity could come in for Gallagher, though Martin McElhinney will also be pushing hard, while David Walsh has been said to be training impressively in a bid to retain his slot.
McGuinness said: “Hopefully we can do the performance and result against Tyrone justice this week and hopefully as a group we can continue to move forward.
“We have put in a lot of work and had a good weekend in Downings.
“I’d like to think that we came away from Downings knowing what we have to do to execute our own gameplan.”