Donegal will relish Dublin challenge

TG4 Ladies All Ireland championship

Donegal will relish Dublin challenge

Donegal will ask questions of Dublin in Saturday week’s TG4 Ladies All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter final, insists Donegal manager Micheál Naughton.

The Donegal boss was speaking to the Democrat on Tuesday evening a little over 24 hours after his charges had defeated Connacht runners-up Galway in a high octane All-Ireland qualifier.

“That win over Galway was a huge win for us and a massive boost to the girls' confidence,” saidNaughton.

“Fair play to Yvonne (McMonagle). She showed nerves of steel to score from that last gasp free after she had won the free herself.

“We would have been very disappointed if the game had gone to extra time as we were the better team and allowed them back into the game with a late goal and a point.

“We were four points up with three minutes to go. But I also thought the girls showed tremendous character to get the ball back up with field with literally seconds left on the clock.”

Up to 12 of the Donegal team that defeated Cavan in the Division Two League final back in May have been unavailable for the championship with most of them having departed to the US for the summer.

“I have been telling the girls all along it is about belief in their own ability,” Naughton added.

“Regardless of who was missing, we have a squad of players as good as any of the top teams. It’s all about belief.

“This win confirms that because we beat a good Galway team that have been the top team in Connacht for the last few years.

“They were the hot favourites and Dublin will be the hot favourites the next day. But that doesn’t bother us.

“We accept that they will be a step up again on Galway. They are the beaten All-Ireland finalists from last year and they are going all out to make up for last year’s disappointment.

“But like the Dublin men they haven’t been tested yet. They have beaten Meath and Westmeath in Leinster and we played both of them earlier in the league and we know what they are capable of.

“There is no reason in the wide world why we can’t beat Dublin or at least give them a run for their money.

“ In a close game anything can happen and it can go anyway.”

Donegal will be boosted for Saturday week’s showdown with the Dubs, by the return of ace forward Geraldine McLaughlin and her sister Nicole who are due to return from the US on Friday.