Donegal’s Leo McLoone insists he has no concerns about the strength in depth of the All-Ireland Football Champions’ panel as they prepare to face Down in the Ulster semi-final.
Questions have been raised about Donegal’s ability to cope with the loss of players through injury, and Jim McGuinness’ men are short the services of Neil Gallagher and 2012 Footballer of the Year Karl Lacey for the showdown with the Mournemen in Breffni Park on Sunday.
“Karl was player of the year last season and his loss is a big blow. Neil, around the middle catching balls, will be missed sorely too. Hopefully the men that come in can do just as well”, McLoone told RTÉ Sport.
“I couldn’t agree that we don’t have a full panel of top class players. Everybody on the panel trains as hard as each other and there are plenty of men that can come in and do jobs.”
Sunday’s clash is a meeting of the two teams relegated from Division 1 following this season’s Allianz League, but McLoone is adamant that Donegal’s focus was always on the Championship and retaining their All-Ireland title.
“We know how good Down are and, even though they didn’t have a good league campaign, it will be tough game, just like last year’s Ulster final.
“Our focus, I don’t know about Down, has been on the Championship this year, and we have always said that.
“Our first round game (against Tyrone) was our big focus and, thankfully, we won that. Now we move on and we will take one game at a time.”
Live television coverage of Donegal v Down from 13:30 on Sunday 23 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only).
Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 22:00 on Sunday 23 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Expert and fan reaction on Take Your Point from 18:00 on Sunday 23 June on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).