BY CHRIS MCNULTY
JIM McGuinness has named an unchanged team for Donegal’s trip to Galway on Sunday.
Following an impressive display and an emphatic thirteen-point win over Laois at the weekend, McGuinness has selected the same XV for combat at Salthill’s Pearse Park (throw-in, 2pm).
That means Christy Toye retains his place at centre half-forward, having been parachuted in as a replacement for hamstring victim Darach O’Connor in Laois, where the St Michael’s man turned in a Man of the Match performance.
Toye, making his first League start since March 2012, came off in the 53rd minute having sustained a facial injury, but the experienced 31-year old has been cleared to take his place again this weekend.
Frank McGlynn and Karl Lacey were also withdrawn on Sunday, both having had minor hamstring injuries of late, but McGuinness confirmed these were precautionary measures and the duo will be on duty in Galway.
Neil Gallagher has been included on the panel again after the Glenswilly giant missed Sunday’s 2-19 to 1-9 triumph in Portlaoise due to a hamstring complaint. Gallagher has recovered and is among the substitutes. The 2012 All-Star midfielder is expected to see game time on Sunday and it wouldn’t be an altogether massive surprise were he to be elevated to the starting team come throw-in time.
After getting off to a winning start in O’Moore Park, McGuinness is hoping that his team can go into the three-week League break with maximum points before they welcome Monaghan to Letterkenny on Sunday, March 2.
“We don’t want to lose momentum now,” the Donegal boss said.
“We want to be in a strong position this year to push for the Ulster Championship.
“I spoke about a couple of goals that we have for the League. The first one is to get the players who missed a lot of football last year, the players who needed operations, back in and expose them to game time.”
Despite a comfortable win on Sunday, McGuinness says that there is room for improvement from his side, who laid down a marker at the weekend.
He said: “We got caught for the goal and will look at that. The quality of the ball going in wasn’t what it should be for the quality of the players.”
DONEGAL (NFL v Galway): Paul Durcan; Karl Lacey, Neil McGee, Ryan McHugh; Frank McGlynn, Leo McLoone, Anthony Thompson; Rory Kavanagh, Martin McElhinney; Mark McHugh, Christy Toye, Odhrán MacNiallais; Colm McFadden, Michael Murphy (captain), Dermot Molloy.
Subs: Michael Boyle, Neil Gallagher, Declan Walsh, Éamonn Doherty, Gary McFadden, Hugh McFadden, Leon Thompson, Luke Keaney, Martin O’Reilly, Matthew Smyth, Patrick McBrearty.
DECLAN BONNER will look to collect the first piece of silverware from his second tenure in charge of Donegal.