THE DONEGAL County Board have said that the decision to formally withdraw from the Dr McKenna Cup was ‘not taken lightly’.
In a statement released tonight, the Board say the decision is one that they ‘regret’, but have cited ‘player welfare’ as the main reason for their withdrawal.
Donegal were due to face Monaghan in a semi-final on Sunday, but their squad has been decimated.
13 players are due to play for their colleges in the Sigerson Cup on Sunday while a bout of flu has rendered a handful of others unavailable.
Added to that, there are several players like Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Jason McGee, Kieran Gillespie and Paddy McGrath who are out injured at the moment with Patrick McBrearty currently in America.
A request from Donegal to have the game against Monaghan put back by 48 hours was turned down by the Ulster Council.
Following a meeting with his backroom team and medical staff, Bonner confirmed the decision to withdraw.
The Donegal County Board subsequently issued the following statement:
“CLG Dhún na nGall have formally written to the Ulster CCC to withdraw from their scheduled Dr McKenna Cup semi-final next Sunday afternoon in Brewster Park, a decision not taken lightly and one which we regret having to reach but player welfare is paramount.
“Much higher than anticipated attrition of players due to injuries and illness, particularly a flu virus, has let to this regretful decision – at last night’s McKenna Cup match we were only able to tog out 23 players out of the possible 26 and three more players picked up injuries during that game and will be out of contention for the next fourteen days. From a player welfare perspective it would be wrong to ask them to tog out if not fully recovered.
“Donegal have 13 players involved in Sigerson competition games on Sunday and combined with injuries/illness we are in a position that we physically do not have sufficient fit players for the semi-final. Nor are we able to dip into our under 20 squad as the team is playing Roscommon on Saturday in the Leo Murphy Development Cup.
“We always hold the Dr. McKenna Cup in the highest regard, would very much like to participate in this semi-final and very much regret having to withdraw.”