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Frustrating period for Bonner and Donegal

Declan Bonner with his management team. Photo: North West Newspix

DONEGAL manager Declan Bonner admits that the past few weeks have left him frustrated, but he says he is not alone on that front.

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Bonner’s side had a game postponed for the second time in the space of ten days on Wednesday night, while the two matches that they have played were both in doubt, and were subject to pitch inspections.

Their training schedule has also been disrupted over the last fortnight, which is not ideal as they look to build for the start of the National League.

“We’ll be glad to see the back of January to be perfectly honest,” said Bonner.

“This time of the year is always difficult with the weather, and it has been frustrating – there’s no doubt about that. It’s been hard to even get a pitch to train on this week.

“But listen, it’s not as if the sun is shining down the country, it’s the same everywhere, and every county is facing the same problems.”

Donegal will now play Armagh tonight in the Dr McKenna Cup semi-final, and the decider which was fixed for this Sunday evening, has been pushed back by four weeks.

It will now take place on a free weekend after the first three rounds of the National League.

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With Michael Murphy, Neil McGee, and Frank McGlynn set to return to the fold midway through the NFL, and Michael Langan due back from injury around that time, it might be favourable for Donegal to play Tyrone in the final to get those players game time.

Bonner says they will be determined to defeat Armagh this week, and reach the decider.

“If we do get over the line, we will be playing Tyrone in the final.

“It looks like that will be pencilled in for the free weekend after the Dublin game in the National League.

“We want to win every game that we play, and if we get past Armagh, that could work for us, as we will have a few of our older heads working to get back around that time.

“But we can’t look past Saturday’s match. We will give some more game time to the lads that are working their way back, and try and get them ready for the match against Kerry on Sunday week.”

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice held a press conference during the week, and indicated that he will be short 19 players for the league opener with Donegal.

David Moran, Peter Crowley, and Kieran Donaghy are among the household names who will miss out, although they will still have the likes of Paul Geaney, James O’Donoghue, and rising star David Clifford available.

Donegal’s opening three league games are against Kerry, Galway, and Dublin, and Bonner will know more about his panel after those outings.

He said: “Kerry will still have plenty of good players out. I wouldn’t read too much into that stuff.

“It’s going to be a tough start to the league. We’re going down to Killarney, it won’t be easy to get anything from that.

“For a lot of our younger lads coming in, it will be an opportunity to see exactly where they are at.

“We’re coming up against three top teams from three different provinces in our opening three games, and that will be a big task.

“It’s one step at a time for us at the moment, and that starts against Armagh on Saturday night.”

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