Áine McDonagh: 'It is very positive'
By Cian O’Connell
The spring brought injury frustration, but the summer is now beginning to open up with all sorts of sporting possibilities for Galway’s Aine McDonagh.
A fractured foot restricted McDonagh’s involvement during the League, but the Moycullen player is ready, willing, and able to make an impact once more.
Sunday’s Connacht Final against Mayo at Elverys MacHale Park is the next test for Galway, who want to respond following a League decider defeat against Cork according to UCD student McDonagh.
“I had a stress fracture in my foot unfortunately from the colleges so unfortunately I only got the two games in the League,” McDonagh says.
“I was in a boot for about six weeks or so, I was resting it to try to recover as quickly as I could so I could get a couple of minutes at the end of the League Final.”
Timmy Rabbitte, a well regarded coach in Galway was involved last year, and subsequently succeed Stephen Glennon as manager, and McDonagh is adamant that the transition has been dealt with in a smooth manner.
“The backroom has stayed the same so that is definitely huge for the panel going forward,” McDonagh admits. “Everyone is in the same headspace and same goals which is a continuation from last year.
“Everyone has massive respect for Tim, he is a great manager and really brings the best out of the team, and knows how to look for it and get it out of us. We are very delighted to have him staying on with all of the backroom.”
Out west there is a belief that following some impressive underage success Galway are moving in the right direction. “Yeah, we have had a lot of success at Under 14 and 16 and minor in the last couple of years with some All Irelands coming back to Galway,” McDonagh states.
“So you can see the talent coming up and it is very encouraging for us knowing these girls are coming up. They will definitely improve the team and you can see them now with the likes of Leanne Coen coming in last year.
“It is very encouraging for us to keep going, knowing that these girls are coming in, that they are going to keep improving the team. It is very positive.”
Almost unnoticed Galway are seeking to claim a seventh western provincial crown in eight years, but McDonagh is treating the Mayo challenge with the utmost respect.
“We have won the last two, but again you can never take anything for granted with Mayo,” McDonagh responds.
“They are an extremely strong side and they have shown that in the past couple of years reaching Croke Park in 2017. We know it is going to be an extremely tough battle. We aren't looking past Mayo, we know how strong a team that they are.”
At club level these are good times for Moycullen, who have embarked on an interesting adventure in recent campaigns with McDonagh an influential figure. “This is our second year up in Senior with Moycullen,” McDonagh remarks.
“It is somewhere Moycullen has never been before, we have come almost on a straight run from Junior C up to Senior which is extremely positive. It is encouraging the younger girls to keep coming up and following in our footsteps.
“We have a good few girls underage on county teams. Molly Hynes is on the minor and then we have three on the Under 16 and a couple on the Under 14s as well.
“When I was growing up we weren't being represented as much. That is obviously very positive now for them on the Senior team now seeing the girls coming up taking over from us. So it is very, very positive.”