Ulster Championship: Injuries denting Donegal’s title hopes
While there is still speculation surrounding the availability of Derry’s Gerard O’Kane, Donegal have rather more woes in advance of next Sunday’s Ulster senior football final.
O’Kane, who skippered Derry last year, missed the team’s semi-final win over Armagh because of injury but is still hopeful of playing some part in the decider.
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness had scarcely absorbed confirmation that Leo McLoone will miss out on the final when he discovered Rory Kavanagh, Kevin Rafferty and Anthony Thompson are all carrying knocks.
McLoone underwent an operation for a fractured eye socket in Altnagelvin Hospital this week and will be out of action for some weeks.
He was injured in the melee that occurred in the wake of the victory by Glenswilly over his club Naomh Conaill in the Donegal Championship last Sunday.
Kavanagh sustained an ankle injury when he was introduced as a substitute for his club St Eunan’s while Rafferty (groin) and Thompson (leg) also picked up injuries while helping their clubs.
McGuinness now faces an anxious wait to see if any or all of the three players will be fit for duty against the Oak Leaf side.
They are among the most experienced members of the side and McGuinness is anxious to have them on board, particularly as they bring a physical edge to Donegal’s strategy that will be required to combat Derry’s pace and power.
Donegal County Board officers have been fending off criticism following their decision to press ahead with last weekend’s club games which served to heighten manager McGuinness’s concerns that he might not now be able to field a full-strength side against John Brennan’s outfit.