Ladies finals on Saturday
OLD rivals Geevagh and St Nathy’s are once again opponents in the Senior ladies final this Saturday in Tubbercurry with Geevagh earning bragging rights this time last year.
Geevagh vice captain Sarah Reynolds said it’s all to play for this weekend with both teams hoping to earn the bragging rights.
She said: “Thankfully we are in the county final and we know it is a hard place to get there and we have had quite a few tough games to get there this year. So we relish every opportunity that we have.
“I suppose the secret is our managers have put in so much hard work down through the years and we had David and Sean there last year and this year we are lucky enough to have Seamus McDonagh back working with us again and he’s had many years of success with Geevagh. So you know he’s the man you have to ask if you want to know the secret of success,” she laughed.
She praised the commitment and hard work the whole panel puts in throughout the year.
“There are a lot of girls who give up a lot of time. It’s been a long year this year particularly with the finals put back to October. It does take a lot of time and dedication and thankfully there are a lot of girls there that do it.”
Teammate Elaine O’Reilly said it’s a big family club, of course her sister Stephanie too is a big player for Geevagh and Sligo down through the years.
Elaine said: “There are 2 sets of O’Reilly sisters on the team and there’s a mother and daughter and a lot of sisters. We are close friends and we have all played football for years and years with each other so we are like a tight knit family. We have Seamie and his daughter is doing physio for us so it’s a good gang of us. We are all close and we all get on and I think that’s why we power through together.”
Sarah said getting to the final is always great. “It is a nice position to be in but of course we take no gain for granted.
“This year we have had lots of tough games but thankfully they are always good to have in the run up to the final.
“With Nathy’s they are great opposition as well and we know that our targets are definitely on our backs they will definitely want to win the county championship this year. It is going to be a huge game and both of us will have to step up to the occasion,” Sarah added.
Also looking forward to Saturday’s final is St Nathy’s manager John O’Hara. He said last year’s final was disappointing and his side are hoping to account themselves well on Saturday.
He said: “We are all looking forward to the game, this is my 3rd year in charge now.
“We are all set for Saturday and the girls are raring to go.,
“There is such a big rivalry between the teams and looking back at last year’s final, we didn’t show up but this year we are all up for it and Geevagh are such a good side and there is big rivalry there,” he added.
Having played each other so often the players are extremely familiar with each other and many have featured together on Sligo county teams.
“We know each other inside out definitely! We last won the championship in 2016 which wasn’t too long ago but we want this year to be ours.”
St Nathy’s are without Etna Flanagan who suffered a cruciate injury in the league and her experience will be missed but John said there are others capable of stepping up on the day.
“We have a few injuries and unfortunately Etna will be a big loss but we have Aine Gormley and Ciara Gorman back this year. We have a lot of experience there with the likes of Ann Marie Coleman and Totti in goals to name a few, they will bring experience and take away any nerves the girls may have on the day.”
He said there are a number of new players coming through from minor level which are also boosting the squad. “We brought in a few minors this year, we have a panel of around 25 players.
“There is a great tradition of ladies football here in St Nathy’s and the club is really looking forward to Saturday.
“During the round robin we had a few tough games in the stages with St Mary’s, St Michael’s and Eastern Harps putting it up to us. But those games all stand to you.
“The only thing is that it has been 5 weeks since we last played a competitive match and it can be very hard to get challenge games but we still prepare as best we can.
“The girls are putting in a lot of hard work in training and everyone in the club is looking forward to it.
“There shouldn’t be much between us in the end although the weather might be a factor as it isn’t promised good but we will take it as it comes on Saturday,”
Etna Flanagan, Sadhbh Flanagan, Odhrán Flanagan, Anne Marie Coleman, St Nathys, Karen McGarty, Aurivo, Sarah Reynolds, Elaine O’Reilly and Seamus McDonagh, Geevagh all looking forward to Saturday’s senior ladies final in Tubbercurry at 2:30pm. Pics: Carl Brennan.