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Donegal nearing full-strength for Cork clash

Anthony Thompson

Anthony Thompson

BY CHRIS MCNULTY

DONEGAL manager Rory Gallagher is reporting something closely resembling a full-strength squad ahead of Sunday’s National League clash with Cork at Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon (throw-in 2pm).

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Anthony Thompson is expected to take his place in a Donegal panel for the first time under Gallagher’s watch this weekend, with the Naomh Conaill man set to fly in from London having been hampered by a hamstring injury for the first two weeks of the League. David Walsh has recovered from a hip injury and is in line for a spot while Neil McGee and Colm McFadden are ‘moving up the gears’ having appeared as substitutes against Dublin in the last game.

“They look in fine fettle and have had two good weeks behind them now,” Gallagher said.

“Most of them are all back up to speed again now and are fit and available. We don’t really have any fresh injury concerns.”

Eoin McHugh remains out, the Kilcar man having spent a week in hospital with a virus last month, but Gallagher hopes to welcome the youngster back into his plans soon.

He said: “We hope to have Eoin again fairly shortly. He’s back doing a bit of short running.”

The Donegal team will be released on Friday morning and Gallagher has hinted that there will be ‘one or two’ changes to the list from that which started the defeat to Dublin in Croke Park.

Michael Boyle, Martin McElhinney, McGee and McFadden are among those pushing hard for places. Paddy McGrath was nursing a hamstring injury, but his manager was hopeful that McHugh would be the only absentee when Sunday comes around.

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It’s the start of a busy month for Donegal that includes home games against Cork and Monaghan, an away game at Kerry and another home fixture against Tyrone.

Gallagher said: “March is a wee mark in the calendar that we look forward to.

“It’s a challenge all the time, but it’s also exciting. We have a lot of good games coming up. The home games are important – but every team will say that, I suppose. But, we don’t travel well in Division 1, so maybe they do take on more importance for us.

“I’ve never been in a dressing room where we say: ‘We’ll go for these three games’ – we go for all seven games equally. The home games have been good to Donegal, though. It’d be great to get four points from the two home games now – but now all we’re focussing on is Cork. It’s as simple as game-on-game for us. We look to be competitive and to improve in whatever game we’re playing. We’ll try to win them all.”

Bonner is favourite to replace Rory Gallagher

County Board now searching for a replacement.

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