Midfield star Aoife McDonnell says Donegal are determined to claim a first TG4 senior All-Ireland title for the county – but insists they’re not getting carried way by a strong championship start.
By Declan Rooney
Donegal blitzed their way to back-to-back Ulster titles and bagged a mammoth 12-38 over their two games, while they got their TG4 All-Ireland Series off to a winning start against Tipperary last weekend in Castlerea.
And while they were pushed all the way by Tipp in a three-point win, McDonnell says they are keen to back it up today (SAT) in Hyde Park at 3pm with another triumph against Kerry – despite being guaranteed their place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
“I actually think everyone else is getting excited apart from ourselves. I keep having to tell people that.
“From our point of view, we know there is a lot that we have done wrong so far,” said McDonnell, who captained Donegal to intermediate glory in 2010.
“I know that might sound a bit crazy looking at the score-lines, but we have things to fix too.
“On another day, the chances might not flow, like we played Monaghan during the year and there was only three points in it.
“We’re not getting carried away at all, but there does seem to be hype in there, people just looking at the Ulster championship but as a team we’re not getting carried away at all.
“I saw some of Kerry’s Munster final, and we played them down in Ballybofey before one of the Donegal men’s league games.
“We did win that game by a bit but Kerry were missing a few players and had a lot going on during the year. They seem to have gotten together now again and are back on track so that will be a very tough game for us.”
Donegal needed a 12-point haul from Geraldine McLaughlin to take the win last weekend, but they’ll need a tight defensive performance to silence Kerry, who worked a 3-13 to 2-10 win over Tipperary in the opening game of Group 1 a fortnight ago.
But this is a very driven squad under the leadership of Maxi Curran. Last year’s quarter-final defat to Mayo is still very fresh in the Donegal minds and McDonnell says the squad has their eyes set on ultimate glory.
“At the end of the day that’s what we set out for at the start of the year – like every other team I’m sure. It’s nice to be seen to be up there in other people’s eyes, but we know we had two games in Ulster where we had very good form.
“Our forwards were absolutely on fire, but we have to be tight too. We’ll take that for what it was but I think the latter stages of the championship will be very close.
“It’d be lovely to be in Croke Park in September and that’s what we’re all aiming for, but at the end of the day there is a lot of tough games to get through before we get there.”