Paddy’s army rar­ing to go as they face Ty­rone

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - By EMMA GAL­LAGHER

REACH­ING the All- Ire­land In­ter­me­di­ate semi- fi­nal for the sec­ond year in a row shows the cal­i­bre of Paddy Henry’s Sligo ladies and even though op­po­nents Ty­rone are dubbed favourites, the Tourlestrane man is not pass­ing any heed. He has his charges ready for Satur­day’s crunch de­cider and even dur­ing last Tues­day tor­ren­tial storm, the Yeats county were out train­ing for their test with the Northen­ers. Paddy told the Sligo Cham­pion that with no in­jury wor­ries af­ter the quar­ter- fi­nal with Roscom­mon, the girls are rar­ing to go. “We were back train­ing on Tues­day in the IT, it wasn’t a good night to be out with the rain but we got the train­ing done in be­tween the show­ers and the thun­der.

“We’ve no in­juries, the girls were a bit stiff and tired from the Roscom­mon game, but apart from that sound as a bell.”

In terms of Ty­rone, the man­ager said a lot of peo­ple are view­ing them as favourites but they are not pass­ing much heed. “I sup­pose most peo­ple are look­ing at them as favourites, with them be­ing Se­nior last year and coming down this year.

“But, look it, it’s a two horse race and we are go­ing to give it our best shot.

“We played Ty­rone in the first round of the League up in Omagh back in Jan­uary. it was up and down, they beat us by three points I think, which was a nar­row mar­gin. We had chances our­selves to win.

“It was a good learn­ing curve. Our own team has changed a bit since then too,” he added.

Paddy ex­plained that there’s three or four who are back from in­jury or have moved back to Sligo. “Katie Walsh who was teach­ing in Eng­land all of last year has got a po­si­tion in Ire­land and she’s back for good which is great.

“Katie’s been train­ing the last five weeks with us. Emma Hans­berry is back train­ing too the last cou­ple of weeks.

“She was with us be­fore and is still with Wex­ford Youths. It’s good hav­ing those back as they bring ex­pe­ri­ence too so we will see how we’re go­ing.

“Mary- Ann Kennedy is over in the States now, she’s a great lit­tle foot­baller and we miss her from the panel but hope­fully she’ll be back in the near fu­ture.”

Aside from the newer faces on the team, there is plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence. “The back­bone of our side goes from the likes of Noelle Gorm­ley, Etna Flana­gan, Stephanie O’Reilly, Jac­qui Mul­li­gan, Ber­nice Byrne, Sinead McTier­nan, Ruth Good­win, Elise Codd and many more. They have been around for years and their ex­pe­ri­ence is se­ri­ous. They know all about the game and they bring on the younger play­ers too.

“So it’s all to play for on Satur­day. We’re ready for Ty­rone. Be­ing there last year against Kil­dare and the match go­ing to ex­tra- time and then los­ing it in ex­tra- time, be­cause we were beaten with the last kick, the girls are itch­ing to get back,” Paddy said.

He praised his play­ers’ com­mit­ment and tenac­ity too. “They are a great bunch of girls and you can see that from last Tues­day even­ing, go­ing out train­ing in that weather, they never stopped.”

He said the ex­cite­ment is very much build­ing for Satur­day. “There is a great mood in the camp. There has al­ways been great ban­ter be­tween the girls.

“It’s been a phe­nom­e­nal num­ber of years, they have achieved a lot. This year, it was great to win two Con­nacht ti­tles in a row.

“Last year as well was the first time to get past the quar­ter fi­nal since our Ju­niors did so in 2006, so that to was bril­liant to get past that stage.

“Now we’ve done that again and are back in a semi- fi­nal so it’s fan­tas­tic,” Paddy added.

Sligo Man­ager Paddy Henry cel­e­brates with Noelle Grom­ley, cen­tre, and Ruth Good­win

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