Donegal Under 16s take on Monaghan

THE DONEGAL Under 16 ladies team had a false start last weekend but their championship campaign will finally get underway this Sunday when they take on Monaghan at 2pm in Lifford.

Liam Skelly is the Donegal bainisteoir this year, and he is hoping for a good season for his side.

They will square off against the best that the province has to offer.


Skelly feels his outfit have the potential to do really well, but the proof will be in how they perform in their four matches.

We’re in the top tier. We were meant to play Monaghan last week but it was postponed until this Sunday, and then we are away to Antrim on March 19, home to Cavan on the ninth of April and away to Tyrone on the 23rd of April.

The top two teams will go through to the ‘A’ Final, third and fourth will go through to the ‘B’ Final, and the bottom side will be relegated.

It’s the first year of this new format and I’m not a fan of it to be honest. I don’t like the relegation.

You could have a weak team one season, and a strong team the next year, but they could be down in Tier 2 then and not playing at the standard they should be.

I think it was better when there were just two groups, and the top team went through to the ‘A’ final, and second went into the ‘B’ Final.

We’ll see how it goes. We think we have a good team and the aim would always be to try and get through to the ‘A’ Final.


But we don’t really know how strong the other teams will be so we will just have to take it one game at a time.”

Skelly admits that his team are going into the unknown somewhat this weekend.

The players haven’t had the same exposure to intercounty football as previous teams have had, but Skelly says they have put in plenty of effort.

These girls missed out on an Under 14 season due to Covid.

They didn’t have an Under 15 season either so they missed out on a lot of training and games.

There was actually an Under 16 competition late last year and we entered this team even though they were a year young.

We felt it would help the girls to get up-and-running and we have been training away since.

We’re very lucky that we get St Eunan’s astroturf pitch every Tuesday to train on, and John McDermott at Lifford is very good to us too.

It’s not easy to get pitches at the minute and we could be anywhere at a weekend. We have been down in Ballintra, and in Gaoth Dobhair, and in Moville and Carndonagh.

The girls always know their geography of Donegal well by the time they are finished with us.”

Monaghan are the visitors to Naomh Padraig, Lifford’s fine new pitch this weekend, and Skelly believes they will be one of the teams to beat in the championship.

I’m expecting it to be a very tough match.

I think Monaghan and Cavan will probably be the two strongest teams in it.

Their players know each other so well. I think all the Cavan girls go to the one secondary school, and they are able to train together during the day.

I don’t know how many secondary schools there are in Donegal, but we have a big county and we have girls coming from all over.

We’re looking forward to getting started and hopefully we can get a win.”

Elsewhere, the Donegal Minor Ladies side are back in championship action when they take on Tyrone at 2pm in Glenfin on Saturday.

Francie Martin’s team lost their first match against Cavan and will be hoping for better luck this time around.

Donegal Under 16 panel: Cara O’Loughlin (Aodh Ruadh B/S), Caoimhe Earley, Jessica Gallagher, Ríonach Doherty (Ardara), Lauren McCann (Burt), Tara Rose Mahon, Nicole McDaid (Buncrana), Bronagh Butler, Erin McConalogue (Carndonagh), Ava Caulfield, Ellie Ward, Claire Diver, Rhianna McCready, Ulitah Boyle (Dungloe), Sara Thomas (Four Masters), Maria Ní Ghallachóir, Maryanne Ward, Síle Ní Fhearraigh, (Gaoth Dobhair), Sarah McGinley (Glenswilly), Eva Gallagher (Kilcar), Aisling O’Neill (Malin), Katie Dowds, Emily Boyce, Rebecca Campbell (Sean MacCumhaills), Aoibhinn McIvor, Erin Leech (Moville), Rhianna McColgan, Ava Walsh (Naomh Padraig, Muff), Clodagh Ellis (Naomh Columba), Cora Doherty, Eve Boyle Carr, Orla Molloy (Naomh Conaill), Sheila McElchar (Red Hughs), Aoibhinn McGinley (St Michael’s), Maeve Brady, Niamh Bonner (Termon).

Management: Liam Skelly (Moville), Declan McDermott (Moville), Barry Dowds (Sean MacCumhaills), Paul O’Loughlin (Aodh Ruadh), Donal Sharkey (Naomh Muire), Sean Nancy Gallagher (Gaoth Dobhair), Maura McCrudden (Red Hughs), Aine Reilly (St Mary’s Convoy), Samantha Mahon (Buncrana).

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