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Donegal ladies are back on the road

By Harry Walsh
THE Donegal Ladies Senior Footballers are back on the road this Sunday as Division 1 of the Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League reaches the half-way point.

Hughie Molloy’s team have one win and two defeats to their name so far. They opened the league with a seven point defeat at home to Laois, followed that up with a 3-10 to 2-7 win away to Dublin before going down to Mayo in Claremorris two weeks ago.

They lost goalkeeper, and captain, Roisin McCafferty to injury early in that game but she has returned to training which means that they will travel to Monaghan on Sunday with a full panel of players at their disposal.

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Monaghan, meanwhile, will hope to keep up their 100% record when they entertain Molloy’s team, throw-in 2pm.

“I’m more than happy with the way we have started. We’ve a very young side who are still working on the levels of fitness required to compete in Division 1 football which is a very high level. It’s all about learning and trying to get our own football right,” the manager said.

Reflecting back on the league to date, Molloy admitted that the Laois game represented a step into the unknown.

“I thought that we competed well against Laois while we expressed ourselves very well against Dublin. Mayo were a much different team, a team with stronger players and we found it hard to get the ball back off them.

“We did manage to put together some good passages of play but the biggest problem was that we kept giving the ball back to them – which you can’t afford to do against players of that calibre,” he said.

Monaghan, All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football finalists in 2011, have a very good pedigree at this level and Molloy expects another tough challenge on Sunday.

“They’ve been doing a lot of work at underage level in Monaghan these past six or seven years. They’re definitely a good side but it’s great for the girls to get the opportunity to pit their skills against the best in the country,” he said.

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Alannah McDonald damaged her knee at training last Sunday but otherwise the Donegal manager has a full panel of players at his disposal.

“The young girls like Milford’s Amber Barrett and Shannon McGrory are playing really well. They’re both still minors and it’s not easy making the step up to senior football.

“Last year Donegal stayed in Division One by just winning one game. I would like to win at least one more league game,” he said.

After this weekend’s game in Monaghan the Donegal ladies face trips to Tyrone, Meath and Cork.

“We’ve come a long way in a short time. It’s all about hard work and the girls are buying into that. They’re working very hard on their levels of fitness and it’s beginning to pay dividends on the pitch. Unfortunately, due to college commitments, we don’t get them together as a group too often but with many of them playing colleges football they’re looking after themselves pretty well,” he said.

“I’m looking for another good performance on Sunday. It’s all about being competitive. It won’t happen overnight but we’re certainly moving in the right direction,” he said.

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