Donegal manager Declan Bonner insists the Dr McKenna Cup has a vital role to play for county teams.
In the wake of a raft of postponements throughout the country yesterday, including Donegal’s McKenna Cup game against Monaghan in Clones, there were calls in some quarters for pre-season competitions to be shelved.
Supporters were in place at St Tiernach’s Park, where the Monaghan-Donegal fixture was called off seven minutes after the original 2pm start time due to a frozen pitch.
2012 All-Ireland winning defender Eamon McGee was among those to hit out as he Tweeted: “Come on McKenna cup you’ve had a good run of it but do the honourable thing. Just call it a day and pack it in, nobody likes you.”
Come on McKenna cup you've had a good run of it but do the honourable thing. Just call it a day and pack it in, nobody likes you. https://t.co/cgLxbWUZYy
— Eamon Mc Gee (@EamonMcGee) January 7, 2018
Bonner, however, has jumped to the defence of the competition ahead of Wednesday’s game against Fermanagh in Ballybofey.
“We’re building strong for the start of the League so, while some commentators will say that it is a waste of time, we certainly don’t see it that way,” Bonner told Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub.
“If there was no McKenna Cup and we just had lads in training, what preparation could we do?
“If we weren’t playing McKenna Cup, we would be away looking at challenge games, so playing in a competition is much better.
“Our intention in the McKenna Cup was always to be competitive and get a good look at lads. If we happen to advance, well and good; we’ll gauge our preparation around that.
“We need to get lads competitive game time because we’re working towards the League which is nearly upon us.”
Bonner expressed his disappointment to the Donegal supporters who traveled long distances to be in Clones for yesterday’s game.
The Donegal boss said: “The supporters are always mentioned in our group. The support is always brought up. We understand the sacrifice they make, not just by paying at the gate because it’s a costly day out and we’re aware of that, particularly from the hardcore support who were in Clones.”