By Frank Craig

Donegal minor manager Declan Bonner says that the effort his players have and are continuing to put in this term cannot be understated.

Juggling exam commitments – especially the Leaving Cert – with football is such a difficult ask of young men. But Bonner says his group has struck a good balance over the last few months.

And with the side almost out the other end of that stressful period, a victory on Sunday would really open up their summer to a whole world of possibilities. With the League title already in the bag, Donegal’s young guns are in with a great shout of advancing through to an Ulster MFC decider.

However, just like Michael Murphy and Jim McGuinness in the senior ranks, boss Bonner is taking nothing for granted.

He told the Post: “We’re not too bad, to be honest. We’ve slight worries over Cian Mulligan (hip) and Gavin McBride (thigh) but hopefully they’ll clear up this week. The rest of the squad are good.

“We had a couple of sessions over the weekend and we’ve kept a good eye on them. Some of the lads played for their clubs too and got game time under the belts. So squad-wise, we’re looking good.

“Of course the thing has been a little disjointed with the Leaving Cert. But it’s a very hectic time in the lives of these young lads and you have to appreciate the effort they’ve been putting in.

“At times over the last few weeks, it’s been difficult to get them all together. Some lads are due back in on Wednesday morning so fingers crossed we’ll have access to them all that evening.

“One or two are in Thursday morning but they’re nearly through what is a difficult time in their lives. You have to give them great credit.”

Bonner says that running out in St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones is such an adrenalin rush and that that sensation will only be heightened by the fact that both games involve the same two counties.  

He added: “It’ll be a great occasion with both sides involved in the minor and senior games. Clones is the place to be on Ulster Championship day. It’s associated with big games. Hopefully this group of lads will make the most of the opportunity that is there for them.

“They’ve put so much work into this. And if they can deliver their best on the day I’d be really hopeful.”

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