Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO Rory Gallagher wants Donegal to go the direct route in pursuit of more glory
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'There is absolutely no plan B' - Donegal football boss planning direct route to glory
Rory Gallagher is refusing to contemplate defeat against Tyrone on Sunday

DONEGAL BOSS RORY Gallagher is refusing to contemplate defeat against Tyrone in tomorrow’s Ulster SFC preliminary round clash in Ballybofey.

The back door is simply not an option for the man who stepped into the void created by the departure of Jim McGuinness last year.

“There is absolutely no plan B,” is the Gallagher battle cry as Donegal aim for a fourth successive championship victory over the Red Hands.

“I think that is the same for every Ulster manager and everything is geared towards getting over the first round.

“From our point of view, we just want to get over it to get into the championship proper.

“That is a big part of it, you could be out of the Ulster championship without feeling part of it.”

Martin McElhinney, Christy Toye, Colm McFadden and David Walsh celebrate winning Presseye / Russell Pritchard/INPHO Donegal won their eighth Ulster senior football championship title last year Presseye / Russell Pritchard/INPHO / Russell Pritchard/INPHO

Champions Donegal boast an impressive recent record in the Ulster senior football championship, with 15 victories collected from their last 16 outings.

And former Fermanagh star Gallagher conceded that such a stellar run of form in the province provides plenty of cause for optimism.

“You would have to feed off that confidence, that we have done an awful lot of things right.

“That players individually have done an awful lot of things right in those individual games and prepared themselves right coming up to them.

“It is a matter of tapping into that and trying to be better and better every single day we go out.”

Donegal’s commitment is exemplified by star defender Karl Lacey, who won’t be seeking employment until this year’s championship concludes.

Lacey was an Ulster Bank employee before he completed a Masters degree in Sports Performance at University of Limerick last January.

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A dejected Karl Lacey Cathal Noonan / INPHO Karl Lacey quit his Ulster Bank job to focus full-time on football Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“Karl made the decision,” Gallagher said.

“They had a baby and Karl made that decision for himself.

“Karl put in a couple of very tough couple of years apart from football.

He was living in Dublin for a number of years and he was away from his family, then he was living in Limerick, educating himself.

“He probably felt that he needed to take a deep breath and I am naturally delighted with his focus on football and I am absolutely delighted with his form.

“The reality is that we would be very happy if we had all our players employed in the county.

“All of them employed and all employed in the county would be great.”

Donegal’s preparations for their championship opener included a training camp but not one of the overseas variety.

Gallagher laughed when he revealed that Donegal went to ‘Costa Del Enniskillen’ for a couple of days, a far cry from last year’s week-long stint in the Algarve ahead of their Division 2 League final.

“There were a couple of reasons, we are out in the championship really early, we have a few fellas that may have to nip home; Frank McGlynn has a communion class and that was one bearing on not going too far.

“I think our chairman is really pleased, he got the (Portugal) deal a long time ago when the Euro was not as weak against the Sterling, so as the weeks have gone by he has felt better about it!”

– First published 07.30

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