Donegal manager Declan Bonner says he is on course to have a full squad to choose from when they meet Cavan in six weeks’ time.
An early Championship joust, with Cavan set to roll into Ballybofey on May 13 for the preliminary round game, means a short run-in from the end of the Allianz League.
Donegal’s players were on a break from county duty this week. With the All-County Football Leagues set to get underway with a double round on Easter weekend, it will be Easter Monday before Bonner next sees his troops.
Bonner will have a few anxious weekends between now and May with players set to feature for their clubs in the League throughout April but, as things stands, his outlook is positive.
Ryan McHugh missed the last two games, the defeat to Monaghan and Sunday’s draw with Mayo, due to a knock.
“We’re just going to have to get him assessed, he’s going to have to take a break for a while,” Bonner said.
“He’s going to be out for a number of weeks.”
The Kilcar man is due to fly on a pre-arranged holiday this week and Bonner says he will be fit to face the Breffni.
McHugh’s club colleague, Patrick McBrearty, made a quicker-than-expected return to action. McBrearty was included as an eleventh-hour addition to the Donegal squad on Sunday, his inclusion only announced as the team broke from its pre-match huddle.
Bonner explained: “He was touch and go and we got the all clear on Wednesday. He trained on Thursday night and felt good.
“We looked to see if there was in reaction. It was great to see him back.
“Paddy is a class player – there’s no doubt about it. He kicked a couple of brilliant scores.”
Neil McGee and Paddy McGrath were included from the off on Sunday and both were withdrawn. McGrath sustained a hamstring injury and McGee also picked up a strain.
Bonner said: “We knew that Neil and Paddy weren’t going to see out the 75 minutes. We were probably missing their experience in the last 15 minutes too.”
Martin McElhinney was unable to take part in Sunday’s game, but Bonner mentioned that the St Michael’s man was ‘not too far away’ in his recover.
The Donegal boss added: “We’ve a huge six weeks to put in now. It’s been a very intense 12 weeks of matches between McKenna Cup and league. We get a week off now then we’re back in on Easter Monday.
“The campaign, from what we tried to achieve out of it, has been very positive. We used more players than any other team in the country, we’re trying to build a squad. Maybe this time last year when we were beat by Mayo, momentum went downwards, we’re hoping our momentum will go up.”Tags: