Declan Bonner won’t be rushing Donegal’s experienced players back to action in early January.
The likes of Michael Murphy, Frank McGlynn, Paddy McGrath, Ryan McHugh and Eoghan Ban Gallagher – pictured – will all sit out the duration of the Dr McKenna Cup.
Donegal are also without the sizeable Gaoth Dobhair contingent and Stephen McMenamin of Red Hughs, who are preparing for All-Ireland semi-finals with their clubs.
Donegal got their McKenna Cup campaign off to a comfortable start yesterday, defeating Queen’s 0-21 to 0-11 in Ballybofey.
Although Donegal were in experimental mode, there were firm traces of experience throughout the side – but Bonner will resist the temptation to bring the big guns back too soon.
“No, definitely not,” Bonner said on the prospect of those players featuring in the McKenna Cup.
“They’re in the process of coming back and have their timelines from the medical team and the strength and conditioning guys planned out. It’s not a case that they can just come in.”
Bonner confirmed that Niall O’Donnell has a chest infection, which affected him during yesterday’s game, while Jason McGee was inhibited by a knock.
Bonner said: “We’re easing Jason back. He missed 2018 with us. He took his time out and we’re taking him back gently.
“We’ll keep an eye on Niall over the next week.”
Donegal face Down in their next McKenna Cup clash next Sunday and Bonner said: “Down will be stronger. That will be a much stiffer test.”Tags: