GAA: Ulster Senior Football Championship Final
By Harry Walsh
DONEGAL manager Rory Gallagher has called on the defending champions to enjoy the experience that comes with playing in an Ulster SFC Final.
Donegal have been installed as favourites to win the Anglo Celt Cup for the fourth time in five years but Gallagher says that both the team management and players are focussed only on ‘being at their best’ on Sunday.
“You can put all the planning in the world into your opponents but we’re better to focus on ourselves as you can’t really control what the opposition are going to do,” he said.
“That’s the whole focus every night at training – getting the most out of ourselves and trying to get that big performance that you always want in the final,” he added.
The Donegal team is not expected to be formally announced until tonight, Friday.
“We generally pick our team on the Thursday night before a game. We speak to the players involved – generally one or two tend to be carrying knocks – before we just call out the team as normal,” he said.
Speaking ahead of last weekend’s training camp in Fermanagh, the Donegal boss confirmed that he has a fully fit squad of players at his disposal.
“At this point in time it looks as though everyone is available but there’s always a danger of something happening between now and then. As we speak, I would be fairly pleased and should have everyone available,” he said at the time.
Naomh Conaill captain Leo McLoone has been added to the squad since the semi-final victory over Derry three weeks ago. He trained last weekend and looks set to play some part on Sunday while Darach O’Connor is also back in the frame for the first time this year.
Meanwhile, experienced Monaghan defender Drew Wylie is reported to be struggling ahead of Sunday’s decider.
The Ballybay full-back damaged medial knee ligaments and, though he is in the early stages of recovery, Malachy O’Rourke believes the final has come too early.
“We fully expect Drew to be playing. We wouldn’t like to see any player miss out, whether in our own team or the opposition. It’s a big day out and I would like to see everyone fit and available,” Gallagher said.