HAVING JUST COME in from the cold in January, Peter Boyle is now the man in pole position to keep hold of Donegal’s number 1 jersey.
Boyle was drafted in as cover when Mark Anthony McGinley sustained a quad injury in early January.
Boyle played in the final Dr McKenna Cup game against Fermanagh and retained his spot for Saturday’s Allianz League Division 1 opener against Down in Newry.
The Aodh Ruadh goalkeeper kept a clean sheet and saved a first half penalty from Down’s Donal O’Hare in the 3-15 to 0-7 win.
After a solid outing, Boyle can be expected to be named again this Sunday when Donegal take on Cork at his home ground, Ballyshannon’s Fr Tierney Park.
Boyle played for four years with the Donegal Under-21s, including their run to the All-Ireland final in 2010, and it was he who was selected for the first League game of 2011, against Sligo in Ballybofey.
Boyle subsequently fell behind Paul Durcan and Michael Boyle in the pecking order and played only four McKenna Cup games between then and last weekend.
With Durcan now based in Qatar and Michael Boyle recovering from cruciate surgery, Rory Gallagher was faced with a dilemma in mid-winter.[adrotate group=”24″]
McGinley and Danny Rodgers were expected to vye for the position, but in the minutes leading up to a game against Down in the McKenna Cup McGinley pulled a quad muscle.
Rodgers started against Down and St Mary’s and while McGinley was said to be in the running for a spot in Newry, the St Michael’s man suffered a reoccurence of his injury last week in training.
Gallagher told Donegal Sport Hub that Boyle is now ‘in a strong position to get the jersey’ but insisted that he will monitor the situation ‘week-to-week’.
“Four years at under-21 level is a fair learning curve for anyone,” Gallagher said.
“Peter has always had the talent and we could recognise that from an early stage. Hopefully he can keep progressing now.”
Donegal had 17 points to spare on Down, but Gallagher expects a much tougher examination of his team’s credentials this Sunday.
Gallagher and his management team traveled to Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday to see Cork defeat Mayo 1-18 to 0-12.
“Cork had a good, strong, experienced team out,” Gallagher said. “They won the McGrath Cup and had a lot of familiar faces on the team. Last year, they went to the League final and they probably should have beaten Kerry in the Munster final.
“They have one or two new faces in, but they’ve still kept that physical strength and power they always had.”
In Newry, Gallagher gave League debuts to Michael Carroll and Ciaran Thompson from the start while Stephen McBrearty and Caolan McGonagle made their first League apperances off the bench.
The Donegal manager said: “The big positive bar the result was the energy of the team. They all contributed really well.
“I’d say we had out one of the most inexperienced Donegal teams in quite a qhile if you think that Peter Boyle, Eoin McHugh, Michael Carroll and Ciaran Thompson have little experienced and the likes of Eamonn Doherty, Hughie McFadden and Martin O’Reilly only got going at full tilt last year.
“We want them all to be gaining night after night and game after game.”Tags: