From her home, high up on the hill over looking Greencastle, Roma McLaughlin’s view stretches for miles across Lough Foyle’s waters.
The watch towers at Magilligan Prison, near Limavady, are in sight a distance away on the far side of the choppy waves as she pulls up a pew; the fishing port below looking the picture of serenity and calm on an otherwise breezy Thursday.
Dublin is a torturous journey from here and that rocky road is one that McLaughlin knows all too well.
Those long treks now are worth it, though.
She’s in Cyprus this week for the Cyprus Cup and games against Czech Republic, Hungary and Wales with the Republic of Ireland senior women’s team. The ties begin tomorrow at 12.30 with a game against Czech Republic; a fixture that marks the start of Colin Bell’s tenure as the Ireland manager.
“It’s a big challenge for us,” McLaughlin says.
“It’ll be interesting to see how the team gels with the new manager. I’ve been in three times already with the seniors. I’m getting used to it. It’s always changing and it’s always different.”
McLaughlin has the Elite Qualifiers coming up with the Republic of Ireland Under-19s next month when a place at the summer’s finals – to be held in Belfast – is at stake – while she has recently signed for Shelbourne and is looking forward to playing in the Champions League.
The days when she was 13 and hopping on a bus from the village below for trials with the Irish Schools team seem far away now.
She says: “It’s always been a dream to play for the seniors. I just want to push on and make a name for myself.”
She was just 16 when she played in a European semi-final with the Irish Under-19s against Holland in 2014.
She says: “It was amazing. At that stage, I was just coming back from four months out injury. I never once expected to be a part of that.
“I’m four years with the 19s now. This group is one of the best that I’ve been involved in.
“We’re in with a big chance. The finals are in Belfast. That’s more or less a home finals so we’ll be pushing hard. We’ve got a great chance.”
In 2015, she moved from Greencastle to Peamount United in Dublin, winning the Women’s National League’s Young Player of the Year Award in her first season and making the Team of the Year in 2016.
Shelbourne, the double winners, came calling, and McLaughlin is based in the capital now with the Reds.
She says: “You’re living like a pro now. You’re training twice a day, eating properly, doing everything right now. It gives me the best chance to be the best I can be.
“I can’t wait to the new season with Shelbourne.
“I had to take the chance because of how good they are and what’s coming up with the Champions League.”
She wore the green alongside the likes of Gemma McGuinness and Sarah Jane McDonald. Others from these parts, like Tyler Toland, Amy Boyle-Carr and Danielle McDevitt, have represented Ireland in recent times.
The women’s game in Donegal is hanging on by its fingertips and McLaughlin speaks passionately on the topic.
She says: “We should have a national league team up here. When you look at the amount of Donegal girls playing in the Ireland teams shows the standard of player that we have here. The Leagues need to be stronger here.”
This week is the start of the road to France 2019 for the Irish senior women and McLaughlin aims to play a central role and lead Ireland’s new era.