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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021

'We're playing every match for him': Donaghmoyne's loss drive them towards All-Ireland glory

The Monaghan giants take on Cork’s Mourneabbey in today’s All-Ireland senior club football final.

Donaghmoyne's Eileen McElroy, left, with Roisín O'Sullivan of Mourneabbey.
Donaghmoyne's Eileen McElroy, left, with Roisín O'Sullivan of Mourneabbey.
Image: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

PARNELL PARK HOSTS the clash of the titans later this afternoon as two powerhouses of ladies football, Mourneabbey of Cork and Donaghmoyne of Monaghan, contest the All-Ireland senior club football championship final (2.45pm).

Monaghan’s Donaghmoyne are no strangers to club battles on the grandest of stages, having contested the All-Ireland senior club championship final five times since 2005, and winning three.

For the talented squad though, this year’s final is particularly poignant.

“As a club we love playing football, that’s just what we do, and have been doing all of our lives, but this year especially it means that bit more,” explained Eileen McElroy.

“Our chairperson Martin Daly, passed away in June so we’re trying to push on for him.

He was chairman of the club for the last 11 years, and his daughter played with us for many years, so we’re playing every match for him – that’s been our main driving force this year.

“We’re very excited to be back in the All-Ireland. There’s a great buzz about the club again, but we know Mourneabbey have been here before too, so we won’t be taking anything for granted and it should be a good game.

“To be in an All-Ireland is a fantastic feeling – people ask us if we mind that we’re still training at the start of December, but how could you mind? It’s where we all dream of being at the start of every season. You want to still be playing by December because that means you’ve made it to the big day.

“We’re exactly where we want to be, and we’re feeling optimistic ahead of Sunday’s game.”

Meanwhile, Mourneabbey will be hoping to build on the disappointment of last year, having fallen at the final hurdle in 2014 to a Geraldine McLaughlin-inspired Termon of Donegal.

They are no strangers to pressure ties though, with a number of the Cork All-Ireland winning champions in their line-up. However, they will have to dig deep if they are to overcome an equally experienced and star-studded side.

Róisín O’Sullivan is hoping this will be their day.

“We are looking forward to it. Looking back, we were probably over-nervous last year so hopefully we’ll be more relaxed and know what to expect this year,” she said.

The disappointment of last year is still there. We were absolutely gutted, but it made us come back and want to work even harder than ever before this year.

“We’ve had a tough year. It was a difficult slog against Val’s in the county final replay, but the hard training paid off – we dug deep and since then, we’ve been driving on to this day.

“A win would mean everything to us. We’ve been playing together for a long time, we’ve come through the highs and lows together: from the Junior All-Ireland in 2005, on to the Intermediate in 2007 and now there are seven of us hoping to make it three All-Ireland club titles this weekend.

We’re all looking forward to Sunday and I know that my house is going to be a mad one! I’m so happy I have my gear picked out and I’m going to go home now and hide it from the others as even though Ciara is fairly organized, the other two leave it to the last minute to get everything together, so there will be fights over gear on Sunday.

“Luckily, they’ve given us tops with our initials on them this year, so they can’t steal anything of mine this time.

“After that, all we can do is work hard and play together and what happens, happens.”

Kick-off in Parnell Park is at 2.45pm, with the Intermediate final between Milltown (Westmeath) and Cahir (Tipperary) kicking off beforehand at 1pm.

6 players to watch in Sunday’s Leinster final

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Mary McGuire

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