Donegal manager Jim McGuinness’ only concerns ahead of Championship centre on Neil Gallagher and Paddy McGrath.

Gallagher went over on his ankle last week but the manager is hopeful that the Glenswilly midfielder will be ready in time for his side’s huge Ulster SFC opener against Derry in Celtic Park on Sunday week.

There was more positive news in relation to Paddy McGrath with the Ardara man putting in a fine shift for his club in their All-County League defeat to Naomh Conaill on Sunday – his second full 60 minutes in recent weeks.

McGuinness says that it’s still a matter of coaxing the dynamic defender along and then looking at how he is once again on the eve of Championship.

“Paddy has been going very well in training,” McGuinness said. “He’s been able to train a lot but he hasn’t been able to play or he hasn’t been able to do dynamic movements and stuff. If we were doing a longer run – a 150 or a 200 – he’s probably win them all because he’s used to that straight line running.

“He’s in good shape but he hasn’t got a lot of game time under his belt. He’s starting to get that now, he’s playing for his club tomorrow in a local derby against Glenties so I hope he comes through hat. There could be fire and brimstone there. That will be a really good game for him and Leo McLoone is playing in that match too. We’ll see how he is over the next couple of weeks.”

As regards to Gallagher, McGuinness admitted that is was a headache he could have done without particularly with Rory Kavanagh unavailable to him due to suspension.

He added: “The fitness of the squad is good. Neil Gallagher went over on his ankle in a tackling drill with Neil McGee. He just rolled his ankle, so he’s probably in a race against time [to face Derry].

“It’s disappointing in terms of Rory Kavanagh getting sent off the last day because when you look at the midfield in the Derry team… I suppose if you were to put a label on them you would say two old warriors. They know the pace of a Championship game, they can control games, they are physical, good in the air and they’ve got the experience on the back-burner. So if both of them are out then that will be a big challenge for us.

“Outside that Christy (Toye) is in good form, Karl (Lacey) is improving every single night, thank God. He’s moving up the ladder every single night and that’s encouraging. Leo McLoone is back and David Walsh is the same.”

See this Wednesday's Donegal Post for more build up to May 25. 

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.