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Longford footballer Donal McElligott.

Longford footballer Donal McElligott.

Donal McElligott enjoying Longford journey

By Cian O’Connell

Donal McElligott is encouraged by Longford’s satisfying start to the Allianz Football League.

Division Three is highly competitive this year, but the midlanders’ have accumulated six points from a possible eight so far.

The only defeat suffered by Dennis Connerton’s solid team was against Armagh, who have stitched a four match winning sequence together.

St Columba’s Mullinalaghta clubman McElligoot remains an influential figure and is hopeful that Longford can continue to develop.

“Yeah, we are going reasonably well at the moment, things are panning out fairly well for us, but we know it is still early days,” McElligott says.

“We have only six points in the bag at the moment and there could be a lot of twists and turns before the League is finished.

“They are all difficult games, that is being shown already. Teams are taking points off each other and I expect that to continue to happen for the last few rounds of games.

"We will be looking no further than our next game against Sligo, we are hoping to put in a good performance, that is all we can control.”

Buoyed up by their run of form McElligott believes are generating belief and momentum ahead of the summer. “Yeah, everyone is working really hard at training, we have a good competitive squad there,” McElligott states.

“Lads have shown that if other lads pick up knocks or if they are out missing that someone else can step in to do equally as well. That is important obviously and it does help to build confidence in the camp. Hopefully we can continue to do that going.”

Having helped guide Mullinalaghta to two successive Longford county titles McElligott acknowledges there is a buzz surrounding the club presently.

Diarmuid Connolly, St Vincent's, and Donal McElligott, St Columba's, Mullinalaghta, in AIB Leinster Club SFC action.
Diarmuid Connolly, St Vincent's, and Donal McElligott, St Columba's, Mullinalaghta, in AIB Leinster Club SFC action.

“Yeah, it sure has, it has been a great last couple of years for us,” McElligott admits. “We have been lucky enough to win back to back Club Championships and it is great to have a few of the boys in with Longford.

“Hopefully they can bring that confidence and experience to the set-up, but you have lads from all the clubs around the county involved in the set up. That is important. It creates a goodwill factor around the county, it also helps people supporting and following the team.”

Longford’s resilience and competitiveness has been evident for much of the past decade with McElligott, a primary schoolteacher, highlighting the coaching work being carried out at underage level.

“There is brilliant work being done definitely and there is a good crop of the lads that won the Leinster minor title a few years ago,” McElligott adds.

“They bring that experience of winning at that level which is hugely important to the set up as well. Then of course we still have the elder guys at this stage, who are brilliant at bringing in new lads and encouraging them, making sure that things are being driven forward at training, setting standards for everybody else.

“It is a nice blend we have at the moment and everybody is working really hard to make sure that we keep going in the right direction.”

Being an inter-county footballer can be a challenge, but it is an enjoyable pursuit according to McElligott. “Definitely, at the end of the day it is a choice that you make,” McElligott replies. “You definitely have to be enjoying it.

“Every year you have to ask yourself are you willing to give that commitment because it is a big commitment.  Personally I'm definitely enjoying it at the minute, even more so then maybe I did when I was younger.

“When you do get on a little bit you realise you don't have as much time left as you might like. It is about trying to make the most of that, while also trying to achieve something together as a team when you get a chance.”

McElligott is still a key figure in the Longford story.

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