Confidence high has Donegal girls eye All-Ireland quarter-final spot
TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 4 Round 2: Donegal v Galway (Today, Markievicz Park, 4pm)
DONEGAL manager Maxi Curran says his side are full of belief as they begin their All-Ireland campaign against Galway this afternoon.
The two sides meet in Markievicz Park for this round two group game with Galway knowing a win will book their place in the knockout stages, leaving next week’s final game between Donegal and Kerry a straight shootout for the other quarter-final place. A win for Curran’s charges today would leave them and Galway level at the top on three points with a draw against Kerry next weekend enough to see them finish top of the group.
“I don’t think Donegal have ever been in as healthy a position where we feel we are knocking on the door and that’s for anybody in the country, be that Dublin or Cork or whatever,” said Curran.
“We are going into All-Ireland series with belief based on what we have done, not like other years when it may have been reputation or potential.
“This year we have actually walked the walk as opposed to talk the talk but that all counts for nothing when the ball is thrown in against Galway on Saturday but it’s a good way to go in.”
His thoughts stem from their performances to date that, apart from a league semi-final defeat to Cork, have seen them win four of their five games, including an Ulster semi-final win over Cavan. One of those other victories came over today’s opponents as well in the Division One of the league. That day Donegal stormed to a 4-21 to 2-11 win, but Curran urged caution as Galway had been missing a number of key players and he is expecting a much tougher encounter this time around.
“We were practically at full throttle that day and Galway were very short. We saw the team they sent out last Friday against Kerry in the first round and that team bore little resemblance to what we played that time and you’d have to think that they learned more about us that day than we did about them in that league match,” he said.
“It’s still a great source of confidence for our girls that they went to Galway and played them in their own back yard and put in a great performance against them.
“Winning is a good habit. Apart from the Cork game, we have won every game we have played so far and that is something we haven’t done in the previous years.
“We probably have a younger squad than we ever had if you look at ages. I think we have brought in some really good girls and character and freshened up the other girls. You are still dependent very heavily on the plus thirties but the dynamic is very good.”
Galway needed all of their experience to see off Kerry by a single point 2-11 to 2-10. They trailed the Kingdom by five points at one stage in the first half but got themselves back into it just before half time and a strong second half, apart from the concession of a late goal, got them over the line.