McElhinney to lead strong Donegal for Sligo challenge on Sunday


Martin McElhinney had an injury hit 2018 with Donegal, but the St Michael’s man will feature on Sunday in a challenge game against Sligo.

McElhinney missed large swathes of the 2018 season and his Championship season was limited to a 17-minute appearance as a substitute in the Super 8 defeat to Tyrone in Ballybofey.

The 2012 All-Ireland winner shook off injury to get back into contention for that game.

Having featured for St Michael’s in the Donegal SFC, McElhinney will now look to re-establish himself in the county colours.

McElhinney featured in all bar four League and Championship games during the four-year tenure of Jim McGuinness.

Donegal face Sligo at Colaiste Ailigh in Letterkenny at 1pm on Sunday.

Sligo are under the direction of Paul Taylor for the next year and Taylor has recruited former Donegal strength and conditioning coach Adam Speer to his ranks. Speer was part of the Donegal set-up in 2012 when they won the All-Ireland.

Bonner is expected to field a strong side on Sunday with the likes of McElhinney, Caolan Ward, Paul Brennan, Michael Langan, Jamie Brennan, Ciaran Thompson and Shaun Patton all set for involvement.

Jason McGee and Eoin McHugh have returned to the Donegal squad and will be included for Sunday while Bonner is running the rule over Lorcan Connor (Downings), Paddy Dolan (Convoy), Peadar Mogan (St Naul’s) and Ciaran Diver (Moville).

“It’s important for us to get ready for the National League and that’s what we’re building for now,” Bonner said.

“We start the McKenna Cup in two weeks’ time against Queen’s and we’ll use that to get ready for the League. We have a lot of lads in now and they’re all working hard, trying to make an impression.”

While Red Hughs’ Stephen McMenamin could feature in the Dr McKenna Cup, Bonner says he is planning without the Gaoth Dobhair contingent until after the Allianz League.

Gaoth Dobhair will play Corofin in an All-Ireland club semi-final in mid-February.

“This is a situation the county has never been in before,” Bonner said.

“We won’t have the Gaoth Dobhair boys for the League. Even after their club campaign, it’s not just a matter of playing one week for the club and the next week for the county.

“It’s never as simple as just throwing lads back in again. It’s a different level and we need to be fair to those players as well. Whenever they are done with Gaoth Dobhair, they’ll need to have a break as it’s been a really long season.”

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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