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McGonigle primed for battle with neighbours

By John Campbell

Pleasantries will be put on hold for a spell today when Derry native Gregory McGonigle encounters some of his neighbours from just across the border.

McGonigle is the manager of the Dublin team that will meet Donegal in the All-Ireland Ladies Football quarter-final at Pearse Park, Longford.

Under McGonigle's baton, Dublin have won five successive Leinster titles but All-Ireland glory remains very much on their radar.

McGonigle, who formerly managed the Ulster ladies side (2008-2013), Monaghan (2011-2013), Armagh (2009) and Down (2005-2008), has watched the Dubs mature and is now particularly anxious that they show their full potential on the All-Ireland stage.

Today's teams have arrived at the quarter-final against rather contrasting backgrounds.

Dublin beat Meath 3-19 to 2-4 in the semi-final and then Westmeath 4-21 to 0-7 in the final of the Leinster championship and the fact that they were not really tested in either of those games triggers a certain amount of apprehension within their psyche in the context of today's game.

Donegal on the other hand just managed to get past Galway in a closely-contested qualifier with a point in the dying seconds from Yvonne McMonagle after having surprisingly surrendered to Cavan in the Ulster semi-final by 1-9 to 1-8.

However, although McMonagle is recognised as being one of the best forwards in the sport, Donegal are by no means a one-trick pony. Amber Barrett and Karen Guthrie are other players well capable of taking scores.

The Dublin team is laden with talent, though.

Sinead Aherne, Carla Rowe, Niamh McEvoy, Nicole Owens, Noelle Healy and Lyndsay Davey are all quality players who could make life difficult for a Donegal side that will have to erect the shutters if they hope to keep their opponents at bay.

It promises to be an intriguing showdown.

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