DONEGAL NEWS SPORTS PERSONALITY, JULY
BY HARRY WALSH
DONEGAL forward Yvonne McMonagle has been busy these past few months making up for lost time.
The Glenfin woman returned home in April after spending three years driving dump trucks on building sites in Sydney, Australia.
Although Yvonne (28) was not home in time for the beginning of the season, she still played her part as Donegal qualified for the Division 2 final in the National League.
More recently though she was outstanding as she helped the Tir Chonaill ladies win their first ever Ulster senior ladies title when they defeated Monaghan 2-12 to 1-10 at St Tiernach’s Park in July.
Next weekend Yvonne and her Glenfin team-mates lock horns with arch-rivals Termon in the Senior Championship final before she marries her long time partner Paul Bonner in December.
After the county had a disappointing Championship campaign in 2011, McMonagle opted to move to Australia. While she has yet to secure work Yvonne knows she made the right decision in coming home.
“We had to put back our flights to Australia back as we reached the Ulster final with Glenfin that year (2011). It was the only time we got the better of them (Termon) and here we are playing them in the County final once more next weekend,” she said.
During her time in Australia, Yvonne drove dump trucks.
“The money was good and we were working all over New South Wales. There’s still plenty of work out there but I would like to stay at home if at all possible. I’m getting married in December and we’ll see what the New Year brings,” she said.
Although Yvonne didn’t come home until April she’s been working on her fitness since August last.
“Last year we were looking at getting back this season and were in contact with the Donegal management. They arranged a special training schedule for us to start over there with the aim of boosting our fitness levels before we returned,” she said.
She played some club football in Australia with the Cormac McAnallen’s club in Sydney but it still took a while for everything to start to gel properly on her return.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted against Armagh in the Division 2 final and that was a bit of an eye opener to be honest. It allowed us to work on a few things and, thankfully, we managed to win Ulster,” she said.
McMonagle scored 6-5 in the 10-35 to 0-4 rout over Down in her first Championship game back in June and followed that up with five points in the 3-19 to 1-7 semi-final win over Tyrone and a further three points in the final as Davy McLaughlin’s team captured the O’Harte Cup.
“In my first year (2002) we reached the All-Ireland Junior final before winning it a year later while we won the All-Ireland Intermediate in 2010 so it was great to finally win an Ulster Senior title,” she said.
McMonagle is one of the more senior players in McLaughlin’s squad but she believes that the enthusiasm of the younger players will allow her to play for a good few years yet.
“We showed this year how good we can be against the top teams but there’s still a lot of work to be done. I’ve missed four years and it’s taken time to get used to playing with the younger girls and bonding with them but there’s a lot more to come,” she said.
“I’m effectively a full-time footballer without getting the financial rewards as I’ve no job at present. The Donegal squad will meet as a group in the next week or two and wrap up this year before setting our sights on 2016. Winning Division 2 and retaining our Ulster title will no doubt be high on the agenda.
“Davy has put together a great backroom team and I’m hopeful that we can push on next year,” she said.
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