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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 19 June, 2018

And they're back - Donegal make seasonal debut tonight

After basking in their All-Ireland glory and enjoying the sun in Dubai, Jim McGuinness’s side get set for Dr McKenna Cup action tonight.

The Donegal players celebrate with the Sam Maguire last September.
The Donegal players celebrate with the Sam Maguire last September.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

THEY ONLY ARRIVED home from  their team holiday in Dubai yesterday but Donegal are back in football action tonight.

The All-Ireland champions make their 2013 debut in Brewster Park in Enniskillen in their Power NI Dr McKenna Cup Section A tie at 7.30pm.

The game was originally pencilled in for last Sunday afternoon.

But while the four other opening round games in the Ulster pre-season competition were played, Donegal’s game was deferred to facilitate the 10-day holiday that they embarked on to Dubai as a reward for lifting Sam Maguire last September.

It’s the start of a busy period for Jim McGuinness’s charges as they face Monaghan in Ballybofey next Sunday afternoon at 2pm and then welcome St Mary’s University College to Ballybofey next Wednesday night (January 16th).

Many of Donegal’s marquee names will not be in action tonight with team captain Michael Murphy tied to DCU while star defender Karl Lacey is in the midst of rehabilitation from a hip injury.

Donegal announced a 20-man provisional panel for the Dr McKenna Cup before Christmas and noticeably it contained only nine members of last year’s squad, which reflected the experimental mode that they are set to adopt.

Indeed goalkeeper Paul Durcan is the only member of last September’s starting fifteen to be included while Dermot Molloy was introduced during that victory over Mayo.

Gary McFadden, Thomas McKinley, Daniel McLaughlin, Marty Boyle, Stephen Griffin, Adrian Hanlon and Michael Boyle are the other All-Ireland medal winners to feature in the squad.

DONEGAL SF: Peter Boyle, Kevin McFadden, Ciaran Cannon, Thomas McKinley, Caolan Ward, Mark McGowan, Marty Boyle, Gary McFadden, Daniel McLaughlin, Stephen Griffin, Dermot Molloy, Adrian Hanlon, Odhran MacNiallais, Shaun McGarvey, Willie Gillespie, Michael Boyle, Pauric Carr, Leon Kelly, Luke Keaney, Paul Durcan.

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Fintan O'Toole

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