Donegal ladies begin their league campaign away in Down

Donegal ladies begin their league campaign away in Down
After last weekend’s false start Donegal open their Tesco Homegrown Division Two League campaign away to Down.

After last weekend’s false start Donegal open their Tesco Homegrown Division Two League campaign away to Down.

The game has been fixed for Sunday at 2 pm with venue still to be decided last night (Wednesday).

Donegal were due to play Ulster champions Armagh last Sunday in Glenfin, but the game was a victim of the severe weather and was called off on Sunday morning.

Donegal manager Davy McLaughlin said last week that they would have liked an easier first day out than against the Ulster champions and All-Ireland semi-finalists.

McLaughlin may have got his wish but away to the All-Ireland Intermediate champions Down on their home ground does not fit into the easy category either.

Down suffered a heavy away defeat to Westmeath in their opening game. The Lakelanders won that tie 7-19 to 0-4.

“That was a very strange result and I’m not sure if Down were short a number of players. My big fear is that we will face something of a reaction from that result,” said Donegal manager Davy McLaughlin, from Moville, who is facing into his second year in the Donegal job.

However, this will be his first full campaign as he was only appointed to the job last season with two league games still to play. He took over from Anne Marie Foy, who stepped down.

“We have prepared well over the winter and are in good shape and looking forward to getting into action.

“The girls worked on a strength and conditionioning programme designed by Adam Speer and they have also put in a lot of work under our coach Sean O’Kane.

Donegal are boosted by the return of All-Ireland Intermediate winning captain from 2010, Aoife McDonnell and Niamh Hegarty. Both McDonnell and Hegarty, spent a number of years in Australia and they are soon to be joined by 2010 All-Star Yvonne McMonagle. McMonagle is expected to return from Oz before the end of the league.

“It is great to have the girls back and we have unearthed a number of good young players as well so we have a good strong squad.”

Donegal will be without the free scoring Geraldine McLaughlin for most of the league. The Termon All-Ireland Club winning captain is waiting to have surgery on a knee injury. Kate Keaney, Four Masters, will also miss Sunday’s trip to Down, after suffering concussion in a challenge game against Dublin,the weekend before last.

Donegal: Laura Gallagher; Rose Boyle, Emer Gallagher, Nicole McLaughlin; Ciara Hegarty, Gemma Glackin, Deirdre Foley; Katie Herron (c), Aoife McDonnell; Karen Guthrie, Niamh Hegarty, Eilish Ward; Naimh McLaughlin, Amber Barrett, Roisin Curran.