Blow for Glenties as McGettigan is ruled out of Donegal
REIGNING champions Naomh Conaill have been struck a major blow ahead of next Saturday's long-awaited 2020 Donegal SFC final clash with Kilcar in Ballybofey with the news that free-scoring forward Eoghan McGettigan has been ruled out with a serious knee injury.
McGettigan, who was part of Declan Bonner's county squad this year, sustained the injury in training.
Naomh Conaill manager Martin Regan said it was a most “unfortunate” occurrence and a “huge blow” to Naomh Conaill.
“Eoghan is unfortunate and he picked up a bad knee injury last week in training. It's very sad for Eoghan because he has had a tough time with injuries," said Regan.
“He has missed a lot of football, and he didn't play much football this year with the county. He didn't get many games and it's tough on him because he won't play again this year.
“It's a huge blow for us obviously, but for Eoghan personally. I'm absolutely gutted for him because he has had a tough time with injuries.
“He has got himself into absolutely unbelievable shape the last couple of years - the best shape he has ever been in.
“So, it is a cruel blow for him.”
Otherwise, Regan has a very strong squad to pick from as they prepare for Saturday night's rearranged county final.
“We have managed to keep everybody, and we have been adding one or two players every year, so I think this is definitely our strongest panel definitely.”
And, after so many false starts, Regan says it really does feel like a county final in and around the football mad town of Glenties.
“It definitely does and has this last couple of weeks with the county boys back since Donegal finished up," he said.
“They came back and that was kind of the turning point for us and the focus turned towards the county final at that stage.
“Even in the last week, and I know this is a different situation this time, but the demand for tickets is huge.
“Everyone is talking about tickets, and I'm not comparing it to an All-Ireland final as it is a totally different scenario, but it has that feel with the demand for tickets, and there is a lot of talk about that.
“It is the talk about town – who is going to it, and who is not – the bunting and the flags have gone up this last year, so it definitely does have that county final feel to it.
“With every day that it gets closer, you feel that buzz a wee bit more.”
But Regan is very aware of the big threat posed by Kilcar.
“Without stating the obvious, we know all about the Patrick McBreartys and Ryan McHughs," he said.
“But if you go through every one of Kilcar's forwards and they are brilliant players.
“Andrew McClean has really transformed himself over the last couple of years and he has turned into an unbelievable athlete with the way he can carry the ball and kick scores.
“Matthew McClean is a brilliant forward, Mark (McHugh) coming from deep can kick scores.
“Throughout the park, you have Stephen McBrearty who is very classy and Ciaran McGinley. They are all county standard players.
“It's not like you can focus on one or two players with Kilcar because there is always someone else who will pop up and cause you harm.”