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Donegal to keep star players out of cup side


All-Ireland champions Donegal will return from their holiday in Dubai today but manager Jim McGuinness is unlikely to press any of his first-choice players into action against Fermanagh in their Power NI Dr McKenna Cup opener against Fermanagh at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Wednesday night.

Instead, McGuinness will rely on a fusion of his reserve players and Under 21 starlets for the inaugural competition of the new season.

The Donegal boss plans to give game time to players such as Marty Boyle, Michael Boyle, Stephen Griffen, Daniel McLaughlin, Martin O’Reilly, Dermot Molloy and Adrian Hanlon as he assesses his resources in advance of the AllIanz League.

A number of his All-Ireland winning side including Frank McGlynn, Mark McHugh, Patrick McBrearty and Christy Toyle did not go on the squad holiday to Dubai for various reasons while Karl Lacey is currently recovering from hip surgery and is not expected to return until late March.

Meanwhile, Armagh seem set to agree to a Cavan request to have the McKenna Cup tie between the counties which was originally scheduled for Sunday next brought forward to Saturday night. Armagh’s Ulster Council delegate Joe Jordan feels that this move could benefit both sides.

“Cavan obviously have their reasons for wanting to have the game brought forward but from our perspective the switch might even help bolster the gate,” says Jordan.

Armagh were not in action yesterday following the withdrawal of Queen’s from the competition.

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Meanwhile, former 2002 Armagh All-Ireland winning defender Aidan O’Rourke made a winning debut as the new Louth boss in the O’Byrne Cup when his team beat UCD by 2-15 to 1-13.

Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare beat Carlow IT by 1-13 to 0-7.

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