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Longford footballer Donal McElligott.

Longford footballer Donal McElligott.

Donal McElligott enjoying Longford journey


ByCianO’Connell


DonalMcElligottisencouragedbyLongford’ssatisfyingstarttotheAllianzFootballLeague.

DivisionThreeishighlycompetitivethisyear,butthemidlanders’haveaccumulatedsixpointsfromapossibleeightsofar.

TheonlydefeatsufferedbyDennisConnerton’ssolidteamwasagainstArmagh,whohavestitchedafourmatchwinningsequencetogether.

StColumba’sMullinalaghtaclubmanMcElligootremainsaninfluentialfigureandishopefulthatLongfordcancontinuetodevelop.

“Yeah,wearegoingreasonablywellatthemoment,thingsarepanningoutfairlywellforus,butweknowitisstillearlydays,”McElligottsays.

“WehaveonlysixpointsinthebagatthemomentandtherecouldbealotoftwistsandturnsbeforetheLeagueisfinished.

“Theyarealldifficultgames,thatisbeingshownalready.TeamsaretakingpointsoffeachotherandIexpectthattocontinuetohappenforthelastfewroundsofgames.

"WewillbelookingnofurtherthanournextgameagainstSligo,wearehopingtoputinagoodperformance,thatisallwecancontrol.”

BuoyedupbytheirrunofformMcElligottbelievesaregeneratingbeliefandmomentumaheadofthesummer.“Yeah,everyoneisworkingreallyhardattraining,wehaveagoodcompetitivesquadthere,”McElligottstates.

“Ladshaveshownthatifotherladspickupknocksoriftheyareoutmissingthatsomeoneelsecanstepintodoequallyaswell.Thatisimportantobviouslyanditdoeshelptobuildconfidenceinthecamp.Hopefullywecancontinuetodothatgoing.”

HavinghelpedguideMullinalaghtatotwosuccessiveLongfordcountytitlesMcElligottacknowledgesthereisabuzzsurroundingtheclubpresently.

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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