Donnelly facing intensive rehab programme to regain fitness for Tyrone's Championship opener
MATTIE Donnelly’s chances of being fit to face Fermanagh in Tyrone’s Ulster Championship opener on Saturday April 16 week rest on the success of an intensive rehab programme, joint manager Feargal Logan revealed last night.
The former team captain lasted little more than 10 minutes after coming on as a sub in the concluding League game against Kerry.
He had been tentatively working his way back to fitness following a shoulder injury, but this latest setback could rule him out of the preliminary round trip to Enniskillen.
“Mattie has a hamstring injury and he’s working hard as you would expect," said Logan.
“You know his style, he’s rehab, rehab, rehab, and he’s working as hard as he can to get everything sorted out."
Peter Harte, one of the Red Hands’ outstanding performers during the League, underwent an appendicitis operation last week, but Logan expects him to be fit to face the Erne men.
Allstar midfielder Brian Kennedy missed the win over Kerry due to a leg injury, but he too is expected to be ready for Tyrone’s first defence of their Ulster and All-Ireland titles.
“Brian had a minor enough niggle and he was unlucky in that he had a gas and took a few stitches, which was an unlucky injury.
“But we hope that Brian will be on full form.”
Michael O’Neill missed the entire League due to an abdominal problem, but is back in full training and in contention for game time at Brewster Park.
“Michael is very close. He’s back up and at it, full training, full playing, so it’s a matter of competition for places, but he’s back.
“It’s one of these general abdominal, pelvic things that happen to players when they train hard.”
Logan played down speculation that he and Brian Dooher may call up a handful of members of the U20 squad in a bid to replenish numbers following the departure of seven players.
The Tyrone U20s face Donegal in the Ulster semi-final on Friday night.
“We have to work with what we have here, and that’s the fundamentals of life,” said Logan.
“We have a good squad of footballers with serious ambition, and we would expect them to do well as a group.
“I think it’s best for them generally, and in fairness to Paul and Owen and Dermie, and for their own player development, and for the integrity of that competition, I think it’s best that they play with the U20s.
“We hope that they’ll go the full way, and there’s no pressure on that way at all. We’re just keen to say that they get on well and have a good run, and then we’ll see. And that will develop those young lads as players.”