BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DONEGAL haven’t given up hope on Mark McHugh’s availability for Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter final against Mayo (Croke Park, 4pm).
McHugh sat out Saturday’s qualifier win over Laois in Carrick-On-Shannon because of the combination of concussion, dead leg and calf muscle tear sustained in the Ulster final.
“It depends on his recovery, but he’s been coming on well. We’ll give Mark every chance,” Donegal assistant manager Rory Gallagher confirmed.
McHugh is Donegal’s only concern following an intense battle with Laois.
Declan Walsh looked to have pulled up, but Gallagher yesterday confirmed that it was only cramp.
David Walsh has a dead leg, but is expected to be fine.
Karl Lacey got 17 minutes under his belt and looks to be improving again.
“He’s worked unbelievably hard and we intended to bring him in earlier,” Gallagher said.
In a game played under a raw atmosphere, Donegal prevailed by six points, tacking on four late scores to pull away.
It had been a sometimes fraught encounter, tensions even simmering on the sideline.
With Donegal’s dander up, they were given a thunderous roar from their fans in the 11,125 crowd.
In winning, Donegal were only the second team – after Down last year – to triumph six days after losing a provincial final.
Gallagher said: “We wanted a reaction and, while we’re far from fluid, the work-rate of the boys was excellent and we’re delighted to be through.
“The reaction and attitude of the players were what we wanted.
“We were exceptionally disappointed with the Ulster final defeat, but we identified what we did wrong and we’re back on the horse again now.”
Onwards it gallops for Croke Park.
All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals
Monaghan v Tyrone Saturday 5pm
Dublin v Cork Saturday 7pm
Kerry v Cavan Sunday 2pm
Mayo v Donegal Sunday 4pm
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