Termon woman Roisin Friel says an increased level of organisation has given the Donegal senior ladies a platform to become one of the top teams in the country.
Friel knows all about the importance of being organised.
She is the store manager at Lidl in Donegal town. Lidl happen to be the sponsors of the Ladies National League and Friel is one of the faces on the promotional material of the sponsors
When Donegal won their first Ulster SFC title under Davy McLaughlin in 2015, Friel watched from the commentary box, where she was doing analysis with Termon clubmate Pauric Hilferty, a commentator with Ocean FM.
At the time, she was commuting to work in Bundoran and couldn’t commit, but she’s back now with a renewed spring in the step. Micheál Naughton’s team won promotion to Division 1 last year and Friel feels the team is on an upward curve.
“It’s great at the minute,” Friel said this week.
“The training has been really good and the set up is so professional with the likes of Damian (Devaney) and Adam (Speer) on board.
“It’s a lot more professional than it would have been and you can see that the girls are staying about now and even the likes of Yvonne (McMonagle), hopefully, will be back for the Championship.
“We’re definitely up there now. There has been a big step up in organisation and professionalism since Davy came on as manager.
“When I look back at all the teams from Donegal that have gone to All-Ireland finals at underage, the players are there in Donegal, we just needed a step up in the way we did things. That happened when Davy came in and we haven’t looked back.
“That bit of organisation has been massive. That’s huge for a team. Look at what we achieved in Termon. It’s just having the right person steering the thing, it cane make a massive difference.”
Affectionately known as ‘Yankee’ to her peers Friel was a key member of the Termon side that won the All-Ireland Senior Club title in 2014.
A versatile operator, she showed her worth to the county last week with an efficient display and managed to get on the mark with a goal in the second half in the 4-10 to 0-11 win over Armagh in Convoy
Missing out on the slice of Championship glory two years ago left her with mixed emotions – and has acted as a real spur.
Friel said: “It was hard to wattch it, but it was great to see them finally get over the line.
“It was hard not being a part of it, not to say that I’d have made the team. But it was fantastic to see them achieve. I knew what they’d put in and I knew how much they sacrificed. It was actually one of the best experiences because of that.
“It gave me a bit of bite too. I’d love to have been down there with them. Maybe that’s driving me on now this year.”
Donegal were missing a number of their stellar names last summer and relinquished their Championship crown, but after sneaking through against Galway they just missed out against Dublin in an All-Ireland quarter-final.
“On another day…If I hadn’t have thrown the ball away,” Friel says now, with a real pang of regret.
“Dublin were banging on the door big time. They missed a clatter of scores against us and that hurt them in the final. We could have caught them on the hop.”
After a win over Amagh on Sunday, Donegal go to Tuam confident of another triumph tomorrow – and Friel is thankful for the support of her employers as she looks forward to a big campaign.
She said: “It’s a good company to work with. They give you a chance to move up the ladder and they’ve been encouraging me to continue with the football, too.
“It’s a big commitment, but when you have the right people there, it’s easy to be a part of it.
“For the first time in a long time, the top eight teams in the country are playing in Division 1. There are different champions all over the Division. It’s the best League with the best teams.
“We’re looking to push ourselves on now and get to the next level. Adam (Speer) always tells us that it’ll take 110 per cent commitment and that it’ll be the 10 per cent that’ll get us over the line.”