ASSISTANT managers are usually doing the unseen work behind the scenes, but Termon’s Nathan McElwaine has found himself in the spotlight this year.
McElwaine is the number two for Termon Ladies bainisteoir Sean ‘The Decent’ O’Donnell.
However, with O’Donnell suspended in recent weeks, McElwaine has been manning the sidelines, while he has also been in charge of training in the lead-up to the Ulster Final.
And with O’Donnell unavailable at Tuesday night’s press night, McElwaine again stepped into the breach and discussed how he got involved with the Termon ladies in 2019.
“To be honest, the Decent came to me at the start of the year and said that the girls were looking for gym programmes.
“I had worked with the senior men’s team and did a few programmes up for them, and I was happy to help the girls and organise circuits.
“Decent landed the big bomb then that he was going away working for the year so I was left taking the training.
“But it has worked very well to be fair. He has been home a few weeks, and is back every weekend when we train, so we are getting on the best, and it seems to be working for the girls.”
It was an interesting project for O’Donnell and McElwaine to pursue.
There was no great pressure on as Termon hadn’t won the Donegal title since 2015. However, the players were keen to get back on track.
“When the girls came to us, they said they wanted to be back at the top of the table and dining with the big dogs, and I suppose we will see on Sunday how we get on.
“They are really starting to show well now over the last couple of weeks and they can get better.”
Termon recorded a dramatic win over Glenfin in the Donegal Senior Final, before easing past Clann Eireann (Armagh) at the Burn Road in the quarter-finals.
The semi-final contest proved to be a real humdinger, but not for the first time, Geraldine McLaughlin was the hero and her late point downed 2017 Ulster champions St Maccartan’s from Tyrone.
McElwaine said: “Beating Maccartan’s the last day was massive, and it was a big win for us going into this weekend.
“We had a bit of a walkover against Clann Eireann, although to be fair it as probably our best performance of the year.
“But against Maccartan’s we dogged it out, and after more than 70 minutes and 11 minutes of injury-time, to come away with a one-point victory was great, and I think that will stand to us this weekend.”
McElwaine and O’Donnell didn’t get to watch Donaghmoyne in their semi-final, as their match with Bredagh was on at the same time as the Maccartan’s encounter.
However, after so many battles with the Monaghan side down through the years, there is significant familiarity without endless hours of video analysis.
“I think the girls know all about Donaghmoyne. They have still got the Courtneys (Sharon and Cora), and Amanda Casey is back playing this year so they still have their core group.
“Donaghmoyne are going to take it serious. We have seen the odd clip on Facebook from Jerome Quinn, but we’re not going into the game thinking too much on them.
“We just worry about our own game and how we perform on the day.”
McElwaine – who is in his final year of a Sports and Exercise Performance degree at LYIT – was vice-captain of the Termon senior men’s team this year and is immersed in his local club.
The maroon and white bunting is hanging, as are the flags, and the traditional bonfire will be lit outside the Lagoon if the team are successful today.
“The buzz around the whole parish is unbelievable and it’s class to be back where they are at.
“It would be a serious achievement, and everyone keeps saying that it’s bonus territory, but myself and Sean are saying to them to keep pushing on.
“These girls have been knocking about since 2010 and have been putting in massive shifts.
“Donaghmoyne will go in as huge favourites, but we probably prefer the underdog collar this weekend.”
Mary Gordon was a natural-born leader and the obvious choice to captain the Donegal team to take the field...