Ladies fi­nals on Satur­day

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT -

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.

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