INJURY MIGHT’VE CURTAILED Paddy McGrath’s succession of championship outings earlier this month but the Ardara defender was back in the grove on Sunday.
McGrath had played 43 games on the bounce from his debut against Down in 2010 till the ball was thrown into the air this summer. The defender, who has won an All-Ireland and three Ulster SFC crowns with Donegal, was hit by a posterior knee ligament injury last autumn and sat out the 2-20 to 1-15 win over Cavan with a calf injury.
“I missed it through injury and I’m just trying to get back up to the speed of the game again,” McGrath said of his return, a 2-16 to 0-16 win over Derry yesterday.
“I missed most of the league as well, so it’s just going to take a wee bit to just get back up to where it was. It was the knee initially and then there was just little niggles.
“You are trying to get back up to the level the boys are at, and then hamstrings and calves and quads and these wee niggles come at you. It was actually a calf injury that kept me out, but the more game time I get and training I get under the belt the better I’ll get.
“I was glad to get through the 60 minutes there today and fair play to the medical team too. So much of that work isn’t seen in the background and how they go about their business. It’s a credit to them.”
Donegal continued their good form at Celtic Park against Derry to set up an Ulster SFC semi-final against Down in two weeks’ time.
“There’s always room for improvement and getting more scores, but thankfully the scores are coming,” McGrath said. “We are conceding too, but the football is a bit more open with the style of play. It’s good and everybody that came to watch it got a good game there today.
“It was a good result for us, it was never going to be easy coming into Derry to try and get a result in here. It was very warm out there, tongues were out in the first 10 minutes but it was a good sporting contest.”
The six-point win was the conclusion of a good day for Donegal, with Gary McDaid’s Donegal Under-20 side winning the curtain-raiser in style, 2-21 to 0-10, against Cavan.
“It’s great for us older boys to see the youth in Donegal and the under 20’s done well there today too,” McGrath added. “That’s great for the county and that’s what we need to be fit to compete with those top six teams. We need those young boys coming on all the time, but they showed that they can step up to the mark. Especially the boys that came off the bench looking for game time.”Tags: