DONEGAL MANAGER RORY GALLAGHER has welcomed the return of All-Ireland-winning midfielder Rory Kavanagh to his panel for 2016.
Kavanagh, who announced his inter-county retirement last January, is set to return to training and will line out for the county in the Allianz League.
The 33-year-old met with Gallagher in the closed season and confirmed yesterday evening that he has made u-turn on retirement.
“I’m delighted that he’s back,” Gallagher told Donegal Sport Hub.
“It’s great that we’ll have a player of his experience and quality to come into the squad.
“We’ve known for a period of time that he was coming in – and we’re delighted that he’s agreed to return.”
Kavanagh cited work and family commitments when confirming his retirement last year and in October the Letterkenny man launched his autobiography, ‘Winning’.
At that launch, Gallagher said the St Eunan’s man was ‘a big part of our set-up’ and noted that the Donegal door was open for the Scoil Colmcille schoolteacher.
“He has plenty to offer – an awful lot actually,” Gallagher said after Donegal trained last night.
“We knew that he had still plenty left in the tank when he retired last year, but we respected his decision. He’s obviously missed it when he was away and has decided to come back in.”
Kavanagh has yet to return to training with the squad, but is working on a programme with Paul Fisher, the strength and conditioning coach, and could be in line to feature in the opening League game against Down.
The Donegal manager said: “We’ll see how he settles in, but he’ll be with us for collective training soon and we’ll monitor his progress.”
Kavanagh’s last game for Donegal was the 2014 All-Ireland final defeat to Kerry.
He has made 132 appearances for Donegal – 49 of them in the Championship – and won the All-Ireland in 2012 as well as collecting three Ulster titles.