DECLAN BONNER TAKES the Donegal Under-21s to Sligo for tomorrow’s North-West Under-21 Cup final against Mayo without NINETEEN of his first-choice squad.
Bonner is minus a plethora of players for varying reasons and it will be a shadow squad that will face Mayo at the Sligo Centre of Excellence tomorrow (throw-in 2.30pm).
Cruciate victim Darach O’Connor is a long-term absentee and will miss Donegal’s Ulster Under-21 campaign, while Rory Carr is in a race against time, too, with the St Eunan’s man set to see a specialist in Galway to have a shoulder injury re-examined.
Jamie Brennan, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Stephen McMenamin, Tony McClenaghan, Lorcan Connor, Aiden Sweeney and Bruce Waldron are all suffering from hamstring injuries at the moment and are unavailable.
John McDyre picked up a hand injury that required stitches while in action with GMIT during the week and Michael Miller’s hopes of lining out have been scuppered with a groin injury.
Aodhán McGinley, Conor Doherty and Andrew McClean are set to play for Kilcar in tomorrow’s Ulster Under-21 quarter-final against Magheracloone, while five others – namely Danny Rodgers, Kieran Gillespie, Ciaran Thompson, Micheál Carroll and Stephen McBrearty – will be with the Donegal senior team tomorrow afternoon.
“We’re going to be up against it, big time now,” Bonner told Donegal Sport Hub.
“We’re just totally stretched. It’s far from ideal.
“The main concern at the moment is the players who are picking up injuries because of over-use. The amount of hamstring injuries within the squad is actually crazy.
“We need to be sensible with young players.”
Donegal’s place in the final was confirmed on Wednesday night when Fermanagh’s 4-11 to 0-14 win over Sligo meant that Fermanagh missed out on a final berth by a solitary point.
Last Saturday, Donegal defeated Mayo 1-9 to 1-8, but a threadbare squad will make the trip to Sligo tomorrow.
“It’s been frustrating,” Bonner said.
“We saw this competition as an opportunity to look at the squad and saw it as an opportunity to tie the squad down, but it’s been so difficult and we have up to 80 per cent of the squad missing this weekend.
“It won’t get any easier either and we’re only six or seven weeks out from Championship.”Tags: