Wednesday 19 September 2018

McLaughlin aims to raid Orchard in bid to retain Ulster crown

The target is clear: Donegal want to beat Armagh and retain the TG4 Ulster senior football title – the chance to become back-to-back winners for the first time will just be a nice side-effect. Photo: Sportsfile
The target is clear: Donegal want to beat Armagh and retain the TG4 Ulster senior football title – the chance to become back-to-back winners for the first time will just be a nice side-effect. Photo: Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The target is clear: Donegal want to beat Armagh and retain the TG4 Ulster senior football title - the chance to become back-to-back winners for the first time will just be a nice side-effect.

A win at Brewster Park tomorrow (3.45) would also be Donegal's third provincial title in the last four attempts, but according to team full-back Nicole McLaughlin, this is a squad focused on nailing their preparation and rediscovering the form that got them past Monaghan by 14 points in the semi-finals.

With just seven days separating those two games, Donegal have had to ease off on their physical preparation.

But McLaughlin (23) says the hard work on the training field is behind them, with mental and tactical preparation key in recent days.

"It was a good win over Monaghan, but we all know it is just a semi-final and we're just pushing on for the final now," said McLaughlin, whose sister Geraldine is a marquee forward for Donegal.

Dispersed

"We have so many girls away and it is quite hard for us playing two weeks in a row. But we got together quickly before we all dispersed on Monday. We had a quick look back at the game, but we quickly turned to Armagh.

"Not making the league final has brought us together every weekend and we're able to work on tactics and we could look at what we wanted for the championship. That is what everyone is focused towards."

For the first time since her school days, McLaughlin is back living in Donegal this year.

After completing her studies at St Patrick's College in Thurles, Nicole has returned to the hills as a teacher at Loreto Convent in Letterkenny, where Donegal and Termon clubmate Emer Gallagher also teaches.

The 10-hour weekly round trip was quite the slog, and McLaughlin is hopeful that being around will help her team get to the next step.

"It'd be lovely to win back-to-back (titles). But it would be lovely to just win at the weekend though and we'll see how it goes," McLaughlin says.

Irish Independent

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