Donegal manager Rory Gallagher has expressed his disappointment at Stephen McBrearty’s decision to leave the Donegal senior panel for the summer months.
The Kilcar man, who played a leading role on Sunday in his club’s Donegal SFC win over Gaoth Dobhair, is to travel to America for the summer having informed Gallagher last weekend of his decision to withdraw from the county squad.
McBrearty, the younger brother of Donegal senior player Patrick McBrearty, has been highly-regarded for some time now, but has not made a regular berth in the senior team his own – and did not appear likely to change that in the Ulster Championship this year.
The IT Sligo student was restricted to cameo appearances in the Allianz League this year as he featured for a total of 17 minutes in games against Kerry, Dulblin and Tyrone.
“You’re disappointed when any player decides to leave the panel when an awful lot of work goes into them,” Gallagher said at a press conference at Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey, ahead of Sunday-week’s Ulster SFC opener against Antrim.
“You have to understand that their phones are hopping from America. I know how it works.
“We’re disappointed that he’s going, but at the same time he hasn’t featured too much.
“By his own admission, he wasn’t playing overly well with the under-21s and he felt that it was a good time for him to go.
“Everyone knows that Stephen is a talented player, but he hadn’t managed to break into the team. We discussed that and that helped in the decision-making process.
“The reality is that we are now focussing on the 38 players that we have. We judge everyone by how they train.”
McBrearty was a part of the Donegal Under-21 squad this year and, while he won’t be around for Donegal’s bid to reclaim the Anglo Celt, Gallagher says he’s open to a return.
He said: “When he comes back, we’ll sit down and discuss it. He is really serious about becoming a serious inter-county player. People are ahead of him in the queue and he has decided to go down this road rather than staying to battle it out.”
Donegal won’t be far off being at full strength for their meeting with the Saffrons.
Eamonn Doherty will serve a suspension, while Rory Carr is unlikely to be free of a hamstring injury and Kieran Gillespie won’t be risked.
The Gaoth Dobhair man has been blighted by hamstring trouble this year.
Gallagher said: “He’s had a lot of niggles but we need to get him 100 per cent right. He has had so many minor set backs with the recurring hamstring injury.
“It has appeared on different parts of the hamstring and has had it scanned a number of times. Kieran has raw pace and a lot of talent and we want him properly fit.”
Jason McGee and Karl Lacey both missed their respective club championship games at the weekend, but both will resume training with Donegal tonight and will be ready to face Antrim.Tags: