Yvonne McMonagle will spearhead Donegal’s bid for Tesco Homegrown Division Two League honours this Saturday against Armagh.
Donegal face the Orchard County in Parnell Park, Dublin, throw-in 2 pm, in the Division Two final. The Glenfin lass is Donegal’s most decorated Ladies Gaelic Footballer of all time and has returned to the team in recent weeks after over three and half years in Australia.
An All-Ireland Intermediate Championship medal holder, Yvonne is Donegal’s only Ladies Gaelic All-Star. The All-Star statuette was picked up in 2010, the year Yvonne and Donegal defeated Waterford for the county’s one and only All-Ireland Intermediate crown.
In 2011, after Donegal had made no impression in the senior championship and Glenfin had won the Donegal Senior Club Championship, Yvonne packed up and headed down under to Australia.
Back in Ireland a little over a month, Yvonne has more or less gone straight back into the team and has taken up where she left off in 2010, hitting the target with great proficiency.
Since she returned against Cavan, in the third round of the league, she has played four times, twice against the Breffni Ladies and twice against Westmeath. And in the four games she has hit the net eight times, six times against Westmeath and twice against Cavan. She has also managed to rack up ten points.
“When I left at the end of 2011 after Glenfin won the championship, I was always going to come home again after a few years; it was only a matter of when,” said Yvonne.
She spent most of her three and half years in and around Sydney, though work dictated that she moved around quite a lot and did not get to play much football for the first couple of years.
But she joined the Cormac McAnallen’s club in Sydney last season and along with fellow team mates on Sunday, Niamh Hegarty and Aoife McDonnell and clubmate Anne Marie McGlynn, added to her medal haul. Cormac MacAnallen’s completed a league and championship double.
“Davy (McLaughlin, the Donegal manager) sent us out a training programme last summer and between that and training twice a week with Cormac MacAnallen’s, I got myself into good shape and I have slotted back into the team.
“It took me a couple of games to get up to the pace of the inter-county game and I’m still adjusting and it will take another few games before I’m fully up to the pace. The standard in Australia was very high, but county football is a step up again.”
Yvonne wasn’t back in time for Donegal’s opening game of their league campaign against Armagh, in Glenfin. Donegal won a closely contested encounter by a point, 1-11 to 1-10.
“I didn’t play in that game and Geraldine McLaughlin, Niamh McLaughlin and Emer Gallagher were also missing and we were also without a number of players. It will be a different game on Saturday.
“We are looking forward to it and hopefully we will get the result and win the title and promotion to Division One next year.”