Aoife McDonnell, the 2010 Donegal All-Ireland Intermediate Championship winning captain is back from her travels and back in the Donegal squad.
The Glenties lass returned from a two year stint in Australia before Christmas, and immediatly joined the Donegal squad as they began their preparations for the 2015 Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League.
That campaign begins this Sunday when Donegal entertain Armagh in Glenfin in Division Two. (Throw-in 2 pm)
“I suppose it was always on my mind to come back when I went away. My last game was against Cork in the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2012. We suffered a very heavy defeat that day and I was never going to be happy to have that as my last game for the county,” Aoife told the Democrat this week.
“I have kept in touch with Karen Guthrie all the time I was away, and after speaking to Karen last summer I decided now was the time to come back.
“She told me that Davy McLaughlin had been appointed manager and it was a brilliant management set-up and that if I was ever going to come home now was the time.
“Three of us are home, myself and Niamh Hegarty and Yvonne McMonagle. Yvonne returned to Sydney last week but she is coming home again in two months’ time, and has committed for the season. She won’t be here for the league but she will be back in plenty of time for the championship.
“Davy sent us out a strenth and conditioning progamme devised by Adam Speer last October. It is the same as the rest of the girls are on at home and I was working away on it before I came home so I was in good condition when I joined the squad.”
For the last two seasons Aoife, Niamh Hegarty and Yvonne McMonagle, an All-Star in 2010, have been playing with the Cormac McAnnallen club in Sydney and have won the local championship over in the last two years,
Annie McGlynn, sister of All-Star defender Frank, was the fourth Donegal member of the all conquering Cormac McAnallen ladies. Annie is due home later in the year.
“It is great to be back and I’m really looking forward to getting back playing with the girls again. Training has gone well, though we might be a little rusty when it comes to games.
“We are also without Geraldine McLaughlin. Geradline is waiting to have an knee operation, there is some hold up with it, but hopefully she will get it sorted soon.
“We played Dublin in a challenge game in Belfast at the weekend. We didn’t win but the result wasn’t all that important, it was more about performance and we were pretty pleased with that. I came on in the second half and enjoyed it.
“It may take us a while to settle and it may be the second half of the league before we find our form ,” insisted Aoife.
Donegal are Division Two along with Armagh, Down, Clare, Cavan, Kildare Meath and Westmeath.