Donegal ladies’ boss rages after injury debacle

9 May 2015; Geraldine McLaughlin, Donegal, celebrates after scoring her sides second goal. TESCO HomeGrown Ladies National Football League, Division 2 Final, Armagh v Donegal. Parnell Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

Donegal star Geraldine McLaughlin was stretchered off while playing for her club, Termon, in Monday’s DL  Gaeltacht final

DONEGAL ladies’ manager Michael Naughton wasn’t masking his displeasure after his side were rocked by a triple hammer-blow heading into Saturday’s Division Two final against Westmeath.

Marquee forward Geraldine McLaughlin, her sister Nicole and Eilish Ward sustained injuries while playing for Termon in the DL Gaeltacht Final on Monday – just five days before their clash with the Lake County.

Naughton said he was “like a bull” about losing some of his “best players”, and also queried why the match was allowed to go ahead in the first place.

He said: “It wouldn’t happen in men’s football, playing a few days before a league final. I tried all last week to get the game off. Five days playing before the league final, it’s crazy.

“They’re some of the best players I have, Geraldine and Nicole McLaughlin, and Eilish Ward. You bust your ass all year long and you get to a league final and you don’t have your full hand.

“Ladies takes second best and we have to change the culture. There was plenty of time to play the Gaeltacht final afterwards. All you can do at this stage is try to get the girls going again. Even though it’s a huge blow I have to get them feeling positive.

Geraldine McLaughlin’s injury is particularly concerning from a Donegal perspective. One of the best players in the country, the talismanic Termon star has been at the forefront of her county’s unbeaten league run ahead of Saturday’s final.

She is also one of a host of Donegal players bound for an extended holiday in Chicago this summer. It had been reported that she would be joined by three of her intercounty teammates – Nicole McLaughlin and Emer and Laura Gallagher, but Naughton says as many of ten players will be heading on their travels.

Asked about the four aforementioned players leaving, he remarked: “You can double that and add another two. Our focus for now is on the league and then we’ll turn to the Championship.

“It’s their last year in college and it’s their last chance to go. It hasn’t come as a shock, last September or October we knew they’d be going, there’s still a panel that can compete.”

Westmeath qualified for the final with an impressive 4-12 to 1-11 win over Clare in the league semi-final.

Nevertheless, Naughton is confident his side can absorb the blow of losing three key players and achieve promotion to the top-flight.

“We had a good sesssion yesterday morning and there was a great buzz. Something like this happening today just sets you back. Hopefully we’ll get a league title, we’re still good enough to take it. I still feel we can beat Westmeath if we get the performance on the day.


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