By Michael McMullan
DONEGAL star Niamh McLaughlin has handed the incoming new senior manager a boost with the news that she’ll be back in the fold when her AFLW season finishes off with Gold Coast Suns.
The Ulster champions are on the lookout for a new manager following Maxi Curran’s decision to step down following their All-Ireland exit.
The deadline for applications is tomorrow (Friday 5pm) but whoever takes over will be able to call on McLaughlin, the 2022 Player of the Year.
“I will go back whenever I finish up here and get the head down for Donegal, that was always the plan,” McLaughlin said in a feature interview in this week’s Gaelic Life
“I love playing for Donegal and I think with my injuries in the past, I am going to try to play for as long as I can once I am feeling good.”
McLaughlin also reflected on regaining the Ulster title despite getting relegated from the top flight of the league.
“There is a transitional period in Donegal at the minute and that happens every team,” she said. “For those girls coming through, to have experience of not going so well and to also have the highs…hopefully that is something that stays with them and drives us on for years to come.”
McLaughlin admits it will be “strange” starting the season without Curran at the helm but has backed the county board to keep pressing for more success.
“Maxi gave six years of service and he brought us to a whole new level and he really drove the standards. He has done a lot for us and we are very grateful for what he has done,” she said.
“It is up to us to keep the standards as high as they were and push on even more if we can.
“We are in the process of trying to find someone and hopefully that will go well and will lead into next year.
“Whatever happens, there is a really good core group of players there and a fresh group of minors coming through, things are looking good and the county board are doing good work with a development plan.
“These things don’t happen overnight, but everything put in place now and the next while can serve us for years to come.”