For the veteran of the Termon side, Maureen ‘Mo’ O’Donnell, getting to play in an All-Ireland final is a dream come true, writes Peter Campbell.
On Sunday she was ice cool when given the role of free-taker and she had a 100% record, seven from seven, which is a huge plus for the Termon girls.
Like the manager, Francie Friel, ‘Mo’ felt that the Donegal girls were just not going to lose on Sunday.
“In 2010 expectations were high. We were after winning Ulster. I think that year Donaghmoyne were All-Ireland champions. We had put the reigning champions out. We had high expectations with the huge home crowd. Just like today, I suppose for Clonberne.
“It didn’t work out for us four years ago and we were very hurt because of that. I was thinking there are not many teams that get a second chance. It’s very hard to get this far, to the last four in Ireland.
“We made an oath to ourselves in the dressing room that we weren’t going to let it go this time. There was too much hurt before,” said O’Donnell.
The former Donegal senior sharpshooter wasn’t at all surprised that Termon put in such a high level of performance on Sunday.
“That’s just the way it is with our team. We are not just a team, we are a family. We stayed in the hotel in Tuam and we had all our supporters there. It was like Termon away from home.
“It’s a kind of positive thing. We nearly prefer to play away from home. Our home game four years ago was our last home game. We nearly preferred to come down here. We had great support, you could definitely hear them.
“It’s funny playing in an All-Ireland semi-final. We enjoyed the occasion but we didn’t think we were in a game of such high standard. We just treated it like another game, and that was the way it was.
“From Laura Gallagher right up to Geraldine McLaughlin, the team were magnificent. Geraldine does all the hard work winning frees and I just tap them over. That is the easy part,” she said.
As for the performance of Geraldine McLaughlin, ‘Mo’ was lavish in her praise: “What can you say. She is unmarkable. Every game she goes out, there are three or four players on her. Once she gets her hands on the ball, that’s it. She turns and she goes. It’s very hard to stop her without fouling her. It’s either a foul or a goal.
“She is used to players around her, hanging around her neck and fouling her. Players are usually sinbinned,” said Maureen, who was as surprised as all the Termon followers that it was not until the 66th minute before Clonberne had a player sinbinned.
“It’s not that we were looking for a sin bin because sometimes when a team goes down to 14 players, it can change the game dramatically,” said Mo.
O’Donnell is glad that she has kept playing after threatening to end her playing days on a number of occasions.
“I said this year that I was hanging up the boots, but someone said Mo, you said that three years ago.”
Now on Sunday week, she gets to play in an All-Ireland senior club final - the pinnacle of a very successful career.