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Inter-Provincial Championships: Pete McGrath denies Eoin Donnelly favouritism

By Declan Bogue

Published 01/12/2015

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 2/8/2015
Dublin vs Fermanagh
Fermanagh's Eoin Donnelly
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan
GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 2/8/2015 Dublin vs Fermanagh Fermanagh's Eoin Donnelly Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Ulster manager Pete McGrath has confirmed that Eoin Donnelly is his side's captain for the Inter-Provincial Championships this weekend.

Donnelly is also McGrath's skipper at Fermanagh and the Down man denied any favouritism. He explained: "People can think what they want but you are picking a captain for the squad. As team manager, I have worked with Eoin Donnelly for two years and he was the captain for two years, so I know his credentials.

"I know the example he would show, the leadership qualities he would bring to the job. There are other players there who would be good too, I'm sure. But I know Eoin has captained us for the last two years and has done a great job."

Ulster play Connacht this Saturday at the Athletic Grounds at 7pm, while Munster and Leinster also meet in Newry at 4pm. The winners of each will play in the final on Sunday at 2.30pm.

McGrath expects to finalise his squad sometime today as he is awaiting confirmation from a number of players of their availability. The team will have a get-together in Garvaghey on Thursday night, but had a challenge match last Thursday against Fermanagh.

As well as Donnelly, McGrath is including the Fermanagh inside-forward line of Tomás Corrigan and Sean Quigley, which tops a superb season for the Roslea scoring machine.

"Sean has had a very good season and made a lot of headlines for a lot of reasons, all good reasons," added McGrath.

"It's a good opportunity for him and it is an important stage of his development in terms of his confidence and self-belief."

McGrath also reflected on the challenge match. He said: "It was a high-scoring game.

"Ulster scored four goals and Fermanagh got two. Fermanagh acquitted themselves very well. Eoin and Tomás played the first-half for Fermanagh and the second-half for Ulster.

"I was interested in the Fermanagh team, particularly the guys just brought into the squad and how they performed, and I was very happy with what I saw from both teams."

McGrath will be including Niall Morgan and Peter Harte of Tyrone in his Ulster panel. Monaghan's Dessie Mone has committed, as has Gearoid McKiernan of Cavan.

Derry's Chrissy McKaigue and Down stalwart Kevin McKernan are also in the Ulster squad, which will surely be tested if they reach the final, which would begin a mere 18 hours after the semi-final ends.

McGrath admits to being in the dark about his opposition.

He said: "The only thing I know about Connacht is that John Tobin is manager. As far as their selection is concerned, they are probably in the same position as ourselves. They would be finalising their own squad."

Belfast Telegraph

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