It’s a learning process for new-look Donegal ladies says McNulty

By Niall Gartland

THE learning process continues for Donegal ladies under new manager John McNulty, as they get ready to host Kildare in Sunday’s Division Two clash at Letterkenny.

Donegal are undergoing a major shift in personnel and nine of their starters from the team that reached the All-Ireland semi-final a mere two years ago have dropped off the scene between travelling, retirement and the pursuit of the AFL.

There’s also been a significant change on the management front as Maxi Curran stepped down after six fruitful years in charge to be replaced by former Kilcar men’s football manager McNulty.

They got their league campaign up and running at the first time of asking last weekend as they overcame Laois and the dreadful conditions to earn a hard-earned 0-7 to 0-3 victory.

It’s early days but McNulty was pleased with their performance and they’ll aim to make it two on the trot when they take on reigning All-Ireland Intermediate champions Kildare this weekend.

“Conditions were terrible and we had to work very hard to get the win.

“ The swirling wind was very difficult, it made it hard for the girls to kick the ball with any kind of accuracy. In the first half we should’ve got a few more scores on the board as we had the wind but we managed to tag on a few scores after the break, which was the winning of the game.”

All the training in the world can’t replicate a competitive encounter so McNulty was also pleased to get his tenure off to a winning start. It’s a new-look Donegal team and youngsters like Eva Gallagher acquitted themselves extremely well in the absence of familiar names like Karen Guthrie, Emer Galllagher and Niamh Hegarty while Saskia Boyle and Amy Boyle Carr are also unavailable.

“Eva got a nice score on her debut and a lot of the new girls have been putting their hands up for places.

“We probably have six or seven girls in there who would’ve played any ladies football at this level, so to take in that many girls at one time can be difficult.

“Thankfully they adapted to it and did very well for their first outing.”

But it is very early days and Donegal will be doing extremely well to match up with what they’ve achieved in recent years, particularly at provincial level. The immediate priority will be achieving promotion having suffered relegation this time last season, however.

“It’s great to get off to a winning start especially with the amount of first-team starters who have left since two years ago.

“We’re trying to develop our team and it’ll be a difficult task against Kildare, they’ve built a really good team and are All-Ireland Intermediate champions, but we’ll prepare as best we can and see how we go.”

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