THE DONEGAL MINOR manager, Shaun Paul Barrett, is keeping his fingers crossed that he’ll have a full deck to shuffle when he gets to Croke Park on Saturday.
Donegal’s minors head for headquarters earlier than anticipated with their All-Ireland MFC quarter-final with Cork providing the prelude to the senior qualifier between the county’s on Saturday.
Some of his panel have been feeling unwell this week with Aidan McLaughlin and joint-captain Jason McGee among those to have been hit with a virus, but the manager is hopeful that the pair will be fit to line out against Cork.
“Hopefully we’ll have a full bill of health for the weekend,” Barrett told Donegal Sport Hub.
Picture caption: Donegal minor manager Shaun Paul Barrett gives the last team talk in the huddle ahead of the Ulster Minor Final. Picture by Geraldine Diver.
“We have a couple of fellas with a touch of sickness. We’d have been concerned about Aidan and Jason. They’ve had some sort of a bug, but they’re on the mend again.”
Barrett played for Donegal in Croke Park in his own youth, having been in the half-forward line for the team that defeated Cork in the 1985 All-Ireland Vocational Schools final.
This Donegal team has a considerable bounce having already won an Ulster League and Championship double.
“It’s every footballer’s boyhood dream to get to Croke Park,” said Barrett.
“It’s massive to be going to Croke Park. This was always in our plans, but it’s an added bonus to be going here earlier than expected.
“We wanted to be there for the All-Ireland semi-finals, but we’re in there now for the quarter-finals. It’s where everyone wants to be.
“It’s a novelty and a new experience, but a massive experience at that.
“It’ll be about getting them used to the surroundings and getting them to see what’s there for them.”[adrotate group=”70″]
Shane McGrath, who was a substitute in the Ulster final win over Derry, is back fully fit again and in contention, while the likes of Aaron Deeney, Brian O’Donnell and Gary Molloy were name-checked by the manager as among those to be pushing hard for inclusion.
“We have some food for thought,” the Milford man said.
“It’s a big bonus to have men fighting in every position and men looking to make the break. We have a selection headache – but they’re good headaches to have.[adrotate group=”68″]
“These lads have huge confidence in themselves, but they have earned the right to have that confidence. They’ve worked really hard all year
“They’re capable of a big performance.”Tags: