Ladies Football: Niamh McLaughlin swaps soccer for Donegal

Donegal's Niamh McLaughlin represented the Republic of Ireland at the Under-17 World Cup finals in 2010
Donegal's Niamh McLaughlin represented the Republic of Ireland at the Under-17 World Cup finals in 2010

Donegal's Niamh McLaughlin says she is sticking with gaelic football after ending a soccer career in England.

The 26-year-old physio spent several seasons with Sunderland Ladies but returned home last month.

She made a superb impact in her first appearance for Donegal since 2015 scoring 2-2 in the Ulster final win over Armagh four weeks ago.

Donegal play Mayo in Saturday's All-Ireland senior championship series needing a big win to advance.

McLaughlin said: "I've been away in England for a few years, but moved home recently and got the call to see if I'd help the girls and was honoured to be called back in to the Donegal squad".

"I am happy to contribute where I can.

"I was working as a physio in Newcastle and playing soccer with Sunderland but I had a couple of injuries and rehabbed myself.

"I've taken a job in Dublin and I'm involved with the gaelic now and that's where my head is at. That's what I'll be concentrating on."

Caroline O'Hanlon missed Armagh's senior championship defeat by Cavan as she was captaining Northern Ireland at the Netball World Cup in England
Caroline O'Hanlon missed Armagh's senior championship defeat by Cavan as she was captaining Northern Ireland at the Netball World Cup in England

McLaughlin represented the Republic of Ireland at underage level but doesn't think she will resume an elite level soccer career.

"I don't think so. I'm not the kind of person top go half-hearted at one thing or another so I'm here and I'll be working hard at it."

Ulster champions Donegal lost to Tyrone by three points last weekend, the Red Hands avenging their defeat in the provincial championship.

Donegal need to beat Mayo by three points or more in Tullamore on Saturday (13:30 BST) to progress to the knockout stages from group four.

In group one, beaten Ulster finalists Armagh are an outside bet to make it through against 11-time All-Ireland champions Cork.

Armagh's surprise defeat by Cavan a few weeks ago will prove costly if they fail to pull off a shock against the Rebelettes in the second part of the double-header in Tullamore (15:15 BST).

Monaghan's poor season is unlikely to get much better when they face defending All-Ireland champions Dublin in Saturday's group two clash at Parnell Park (14:00 BST).

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