Sunday 26 January 2020

'It's absolutely crazy' - Declan Bonner blasts 'ridiculous' schedule as Donegal pull out of McKenna Cup

Donegal manager Declan Bonner. Photo: Sportsfile
Donegal manager Declan Bonner. Photo: Sportsfile

Chris McNulty

Donegal insist they will not be fulfilling Sunday's Dr McKenna Cup semi-final against Monaghan.

A clash with the opening round of Sigerson Cup games has left Donegal unable to field a team.

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The decision was confirmed by manager Declan Bonner after a meeting with his backroom team last night. The conclusion, the Donegal boss said, was "regrettable".

The county are without 13 players, who will line out for their colleges, while Michael Murphy is manager of the Letterkenny IT team that will face Athlone IT in the Sigerson Cup.

"It's crazy, absolutely crazy," said Bonner, whose team defeated Derry 1-10 to 0-8 on Wednesday. "Whoever fixed the Sigerson in the middle of this, it is absolutely ridiculous. We have to manage that and be careful of player welfare and we just won't have the numbers to field.

"We always treat the McKenna Cup with respect, but if you can't put out a team, you can't put out a team."

The Donegal County Board confirmed the withdrawal of Bonner's side last night.

"It was a decision not taken lightly and one which we regret having to reach but player welfare is paramount," the board said in a statement.

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Following Wednesday's win, Donegal county secretary Declan Martin wrote to the Ulster Council asking that the game be put back by 48 hours.

Down, who are due to play Tyrone in the other semi-final, made a similar request. However, the Ulster Council are adamant that the games go ahead as scheduled.

It remains to be seen what action, if any, the Ulster Council will take against Donegal.

Donegal have been in experimental mode so far this year, although Bonner has used a number of his first-choice players.

However, their squad is decimated heading into the weekend.

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