By Frank Craig
Jason McGee hopes his recent run of game time for Donegal is a sign of things to come as we approach the business end of the season.
Declan Bonner’s men can secure their Division 1 status at the weekend with provincial rivals Monaghan scheduled to come to Ballybofey.
With Donegal’s huge Ulster SFC opener with Armagh pencilled in for Sunday, April 24, back at MacCumhaill Park, McGee believes now is the opportune time to pick up the pace.
The Cloughaneely man hasn’t had the best of fortune when it comes to injuries in recent times and there is no doubt hamstring, hip and back complaints have interrupted his progression at this level.
However, since being sprung after just 10 minutes in place of Ciaran Thompson in the opening NFL clash of the season, against Mayo in Sligo, McGee has been present from the off ever since. And injuries to the likes of regular middle third men Michael Langan, Michael Murphy and Caolan McGonagle means Bonner has has to hedge his bets on McGee for a large chunk of this League campaign.
In the subsequent three outings since that drawn encounter at Markievicz Park, the midfielder has got on the score sheet in all but one of those contests. And it’s that traction, minutes on the pitch at this level, which he believes, is making all the difference.
He told the Donegal News: “One hundred percent. It’s been massively important for me over the last few weeks, to be playing. To be fair to the likes of Langan and Caolan, they had been going so well that you just weren’t going to get a right run. Training is fine, and even coming off the bench, but starting games brings you on that little bit more.
“I was also lucky in the sense that I was coming in with a good Sigerson run with LYIT under my belt. For the first time in a long time, I’ve been able to hit the ground running with Donegal. And that’s probably brought the wee bit of confidence I’ve maybe needed. And I mean trust in my body as well as in my form, if you understand?”
Monaghan come to town at the weekend under a considerable amount of pressure. Second from bottom, they’ve yet to win a game in Division 1 and have just two points on the board from their four outings so far.
“We’re expecting a seriously tough game at the weekend. Monaghan caused us all sorts of trouble last season in Ballybofey. We’ve had a very good two weeks. And we’re on the verge of getting back at it now and all our attention is trained on Sunday. We’re looking forward to it.”