SHAUN PAUL BARRETT has a number of injury concerns ahead of Donegal’s Ulster Minor Championship quarter-final against Antrim on Sunday evening at Corrigan Park, Belfast, 7pm.
The Donegal minor manager will assess the fitness of Eoghan McGettigan, Jason McGee, Nathan Boyle, Kieran Gallagher and JD Boyle at training on Friday night but insists he will give will every player a chance to prove themselves.
Photo caption: Donegal players and management celebrate winning the Ulster Minor League following their victory over Tyrone last month in Magherafelt
Full-forward McGettigan’s toe injury is the main concern, although his Naomh Conaill clubmate and centre-back JD Boyle has a knee concern and another clubmate, Kieran Gallagher who plays at centre-field, will have his shoulder looked at.
Gallagher’s midfield partner Jason McGee of Cloughaneely has a back problem and wing-back cum wing-forward Nathan Boyle of Aodh Ruadh’s ribs will also be assessed.[adrotate group=”66″]
“They’re all very important players,” Barrett told Donegal Sport Hub. “The spine of our team really. Hopefully they will come through. We’ll know more on Friday and that’ll obviously have a huge influence on what we go with for Sunday.”
Aside those on the ‘doubtful’ list, Michael Mulhern from Cloughaneely and Oisin Rooney of Aodh Ruadh will definitely not play.
Donegal minor manager Shaun Paul Barrett
Donegal can enter the Ulster MFC with confidence, having last month won the Ulster Minor League. Minor teams come and go but there’s an element of stability in underage football considering that’s now a title that’s been won three years on the spin, with Declan Bonner having overseen the previous two winning campaigns.
In the championship, Donegal are looking for a seventh title having taken Liam Murray Cup home in 1956, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2006 and 2014.[adrotate group=”58″]
This year’s league was clinched courtesy of a dramatic 3-9 to 1-13 win over Tyrone in Maghera, with wing-back Aidan McLaughlin from Naomh Padraig in Muff scoring a last minute goal.
That win was preceded by an equally impressive 0-23 to 0-21 victory against Monaghan in Clones in the semi-final when joint-captain Niall O’Donnell hit 13 points.
In the group stages of the competition, Donegal opened with a 2-11 to 0-8 success over Fermanagh in Ballyshannon, lost narrowly to Tyrone in Ballbofey 1-9 to 2-8, overcame Derry 3-12 to 0-6 at Celtic Park and then beat Antrim 2-12 to 0-6 in Magherafelt.[adrotate group=”47″]
“We used the league to try players out and try things out,” Barrett added. “It’s what most other managers did. Every day we play we go out to win and we were happy with what we got from the league. We’ve followed that up with good challenge games against Sligo and Mayo and every day you go out you try and take a positive from it and we’ve done that.
“The win gave the lads some confidence and was good reward for what they’ve put in since January. But the league counts for nothing now. It’s win or bust; straight knock-out.”[adrotate group=”46″]
With the Leaving Cert in early June, it means Donegal and Antrim is this Sunday, therefore not the traditional curtain-raiser to the Ulster SFC on June 12, when Rory Gallagher’s seniors welcome Fermanagh to Ballybofey.
Antrim’s minors have been in the white-hot atmosphere of the championship when they came from six points down – 2-3 to 0-3 – to defeat Fermanagh 2-11 to 2-9 in the preliminary round earlier this month in Enniskillen. Brendan Corr and Kevin Small grabbed the goals for the Antrim side managed by Hugh McGettigan, while Conor Small kicked eight frees.
St Pat’s Maghera player Paddy McCormick was a MacRory Cup winner this year, while Liam Quinn, Sean Kelly, Joe Maybin, Michael McNamee, Paul McStravick and the Smalls are some of their more familiar names.[adrotate group=”45″]
“It’s a big task for us,” Barrett added. “We’re away at Corrigan Park and that’s Antrim’s home patch for the time being. We’ve never played there before and Antrim have come through a good championship game and that can only stand to them.
“We’ll give them all the respect that they deserve and are wary of the threat that they bring.”[adrotate group=”38″]
Donegal panel: JD Boyle, Kieran Gallagher, Eoghan McGettigan and Jack Flannery (all Naomh Conaill), Aaron McCrea (Four Masters), Aiden McLaughlin (Naomh Padraig, Muff), Gavin Mulreany and Peadar Mogan (St Naul’s), Mark Curran and Ryan Connors (An Clochán Liath), Shane Ferry and Odhran McFadden (Gaoth Dobhair), Odhran Shiels and Eoghan Carr (Gaeil Fhánada), Jason McGee and Michael Mulhern (Cloughaneely), Oisin Rooney, Nathan Boyle and Shane McGrath (Aodh Ruadh), Ciaran McGinley (St Michael’s), Stephen Carr (Glenfin), Aaron Deeney and Niall O’Donnell (St Eunan’s), Enda McCormick (Termon), Carl Dunnion (Sean MacCumhaill’s), Daniel Lyons, Brian O’Donnell and Gary Molloy (Cill Chartha), Tony Harkin and Senan Boyle (Ardara).[adrotate group=”37″] Tags: