Ulster manager Joe Kernan is resigned to being without some leading players for Saturday’s Inter-Provincial championship semi-final against Leinster at Crossmaglen (2.30).
The former Armagh boss remains optimistic that his side can reach the decider.
“In the challenge games and training sessions we have held there has been tremendous enthusiasm and commitment shown by the players.” he said.
“This is most encouraging. Obviously several players have been involved with their clubs in county championships and others are injured so we have to go with the hand which we are dealt.”
Kernan has been particularly impressed by some of Ulster’s more senior players in the inter-pro preparations to date with Benny Coulter, Paddy Bradley, Enda McGinley and Kevin Hughes in particular catching his eye.
And the provincial boss is delighted that Donegal’s Mark Murphy has been voted Young Player of the Year.
“He is in my squad and he is showing massive potential,” said Kernan, who is assisted in his Ulster post by Monaghan manager Seamus McEneaney.
“It’s certainly great from an Ulster perspective that Karl Lacey, who has given the province fine service and Stephen O’Neill, another good ambassador, have won Allstar awards.
“We want to go out on Saturday against Leinster and show that Ulster football is in a healthy state even though the Sam Maguire Cup is not in residence here at the moment.”
The other semi-final between Munster and Connacht is also down for decision on Saturday and the final is scheduled for London the following weekend.
“It’s good that the final is taking place there as it will give the many followers of the GAA in the London area the chance to see some of this country’s top players in action and I’m very much in favour of it,” adds Kernan.