The former Kerry player has failed to respond to treatment on a groin injury and is replaced by Brian McDonald, who made a number of starts during the League.
However, centre-forward Chris Conway, who was also considered doubtful because of a similar injury, was last night passed fit.
Carlow will be without regular full-back Mark Brennan following his sending-off during the win over Wicklow. Currently under suspension, Brennan will be replaced by Brian Farrell, who is no stranger to the position.
Other changes on the Carlow side see James Ryan moved out to left half back in place of Barry England, while Brian Murphy makes his debut at right corner forward.
Donegal introduce four new players to senior championship football for their Ulster quarter-final shoot-out with Down at Ballybofey on Sunday.
Receiving their call-up papers are right corner back Neil McGee, centre-forward Chris Bonner and corner-forwards Conal Kelly and Michael Doherty.
The Donegal selectors have also come up with some other surprises.
Regular centre-forward Michael Hegarty is now positioned at centre-back with Barry Monaghan moving to midfield to the exclusion of Brendan Boyle, while last year’s skipper Adrian Sweeney will sit out the start on the bench.
Down have dropped Dan McCartan from the side that defeated Cavan last time out and he is replaced at left half back by Adrian Scully.
: F. Byrne; A. Fennelly, C. Ryan, P. McMahon; D. Rooney, T. Kelly, J. Higgins; P. Clancy, N. Garvan; R. Munelly, C. Conway, G. Kavanagh; D. Brennan, P. Lawlor, B. McDonald.
: J. Brennan; C. McCarthy, B. Farrell, T. Smith; J. Hayden, J. Byrne, J. Ryan; P. Walsh, T. Walsh; B. Carbery, M. Carpenter, P. Hickey; B. Murphy, S. Rea, A. Kelly.
: P. Durcan; N. McGee, P. Campbell, K. Lacey; E. McGee, M. Hegarty, B. Dunnion; N. Gallagher, B Monaghan; C. Toye (capt), C. Bonner, R. Kavanagh; C. Kelly, C. Dunne, M. Doherty.
: B, McVeigh; M. Cole, B. Grant, A. Molloy; P. Murphy, J. Clarke, A. Scullion; A. Rodgers, D. Gordon; E. McCartan, L. Doyle, R. Murtagh; D. Hughes, B. Coulter (capt), M. Walsh.