SWILLY Rovers manager Jason Gibson is keeping his fingers crossed that five of the younger members of his squad can stay injury free today ahead of tomorrow’s game at home to Cockhill Celtic, kick off 12 noon.
Dylan Hegarty, Jordan Toland and Ronan Curtis (Derry City), James McCahill (Fanad United) and Duncan Patterson (Finn Harps) are all involved in Foyle Cup action this week and, with further matches scheduled for today, Gibson is left playing a waiting game.
“I’m going back into the Foyle Cup this evening (Friday) and all I can do is hope that none of the lads pick up injuries. That said, it’s a great sign of the underage structure at the Swilly Rovers club that so many of our younger players have been invited to play for other teams in the Foyle Cup.
“Swilly have four or five players in the Donegal Schoolboys U14 squad and that is replicated the whole way up through the age groups,” he said.
With Keith Hegarty out for the season and Marty Boyce struggling to overcome a rib injury, Gibson needs all the players he can get ahead of Sunday’s game.
“Columba O’Donnell was back training on Tuesday night after missing the last two to three weeks which is a boost. We’ve plenty of young local based players. We had eight locals playing last week and we might have as many as nine on Sunday and twelve or thirteen of the squad. It’s great to see such good young talent coming through.
“Age is just a number and if there’re good enough I’ll give them a chance,” he said.
Swilly returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win at home to Kildrum Tigers in Ramelton last Sunday and Gibson is looking for another positive result against Cockhill.
“We were on the coat tails of the leaders until we had a disastrous result at home to Finn Harps. A week later we were 3-2 up in Drumkeen midway through the second half when Keith (Hegarty) got sent off. Things could have been a lot different had we got four or six points from those two games,” he said.
Winners of the Knockalla Caravans Cup earlier in the year, Swilly travel to Drumkeen to contest the semi final of the Donegal News at the beginning of September.
“Cockhill beat us 2-1 in Buncrana at the start of the season and they’re a very good team but I’m a great believer in earning the title and we’ll certainly be giving it our all on Sunday.
“I’m enjoying my football. We finished third in the league last year while we won one of the three cups available to us this year and we’re in the semi final of another. I think we’re moving in the right direction and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
Sandilands steps down at Bonagee
Meanwhile, Bonagee United have confirmed that Shaun Budgie Sandilands has resigned from his post as the club’s Ulster Senior League manager.
“We would like to thank Shaun for all his hard work during his time at the club and wish him the very best in the future,” a short club statement read.
Sandilands joined the club as number two to Peter Moran last year and this was his first full season in charge at the Showgrounds.
Having led Kilmacrennan Celtic to successive Donegal League titles he also tried his hand as managing Termon GAA club for a short period of time.
4 Lanterns USL
Sunday 28th July at 12 noon
Swilly Rovers v Cockhill
Ref Tommy McAree
Sunday 28th July at 2pm
Bonagee Utd. v Derry City Res.
Ref Stephen Toner
Thursday 1st August at 7.30pm
Drumkeen Utd. v Letterkenny Rovers
Ref Paul Duddy
Thursday 1st August at 7.45pm
Fanad Utd. v Kildrum Tigers
Ref Joe McHugh
DPD Div. 1 Cup Semi Finals
Saturday, July 27th at 2pm
Bonagee Utd. Res. v Drumkeen Utd.
Ref Con McLaughlin
Tuesday 30th July at 7.30pm
Kildrum Tigers v Swilly Rovers
Ref Joe McHugh.
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