Wednesday 23 August 2017

Last year's row not a factor for Kerry rematch, says Gallagher

Donegal boss Rory Gallagher. Photo: Sportsfile
Donegal boss Rory Gallagher. Photo: Sportsfile

Chris McNulty

Rory Gallagher doesn't believe that a simmering Donegal-Kerry rivalry will boil over in Letterkenny on Sunday.

The Allianz League opens for both counties with a rematch of a contest from last March dubbed 'the rows of Tralee'.

Kerry's Alan Fitzgerald and Donegal's Leo McLoone were sent off; Denis Daly and Shane Enright of Kerry were black-carded; Eddie Kinsella, the referee, flashed six yellow cards; and Neil McGee was given a retrospective one-match ban for his part in the incident that led to Fitzgerald's dismissal. Kerry and Donegal were both fined €5,000 by the CCCC following an ugly afternoon.

"These are two relatively young teams and a lot of the old warriors from both teams might be missing," Gallagher said.

Spilled

"They have probably a few players who won't be about and we probably have a few. We think that we have a healthy rivalry but it spilled over. Both teams did not set out for that to happen and the year previously we had a terrific game of football with them.

"I don't think ourselves or Kerry would be too happy with how we came out of it. There is no doubt that it was overly physical and it is something that probably should not have happened but it did."

Donegal saw eight of last year's panel, including McLoone, either retire or step away from the squad over the winter.

Former Leitrim player Paul Brennan, now playing with Bundoran, is in line for his Donegal debut. Karl Lacey and Neil Gallagher remain some way off a return, Martin McElhinney is also on Donegal's injured list, while Kieran Gillespie (hamstring) is in a fitness race.

Irish Independent

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