Tipperary ladies prepare to pit their wits against Donegal and the “best set of forwards in the country”

Brian McDonnell

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Brian McDonnell

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bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

Tipperary ladies prepare to pit their wits against Donegal and the “best set of forwards in the country”

Tipperary senior ladies football stars Aishling Moloney and team captain Samantha Lambert.

Following the defeat suffered at the hands of Kerry (2-10 to 3-13) on Saturday at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh the Tipperary team have it all to do when the outfit managed by Shane Ronayne face Donegal in a make-or-break TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship tie on Saturday, July 21st at Castlerea, Roscommon (throw-in 2pm). The Tipperary ladies footballers are competing in group one of the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship alongside Donegal and Kerry with the top two progressing to the quarter-finals. And, although Donegal have yet to play a game in this season’s All-Ireland championship they were more than impressive when they blasted 9-21 past Armagh in the Ulster decider. Indeed, Tipperary manager Shane Ronayne has revealed that Donegal may well feature the “best set of forwards in the country”.

“We played Donegal in a challenge game a couple of weeks before the Cork game (Munster semi-final). It was a very good game and Donegal are seriously good. They put up an incredible score in the Ulster final and they have probably the best set of forwards in the country,” Shane Ronayne explained to the Tipperary Star.

“We did compete with them that night - there was only a point in it and we played very well. It gave us great confidence going forward, but that confidence seems to have ebbed away a bit from the girls. And, I suppose we just have to try and get that back into them.

“We could have beaten Donegal that night, but, look, Donegal have been waiting now for (us) for five weeks. They have a lot of work done and they have a very astute management team. Maxi Curran has been around in the men’s game - he was involved with Jim McGuinness when they won the All-Ireland and he will know us inside out at this stage. It is going to be a huge task to beat them next weekend, but, look, we will have a cut and that’s all that I can ask of the girls,” the Tipperary ladies football manager said.

For large parts of last Saturday’s contest with Kerry the Tipperary ladies football team played especially well. Indeed, thanks to a stunning Róisín Howard goal Tipperary led 1-3 to 0-4 with twenty-one minutes of a highly-entertaining contest played. Kerry, however, responded with a devastating surge to open a nine-point gap prior to the interval (1-3 to 2-9) when the Kingdom blasted 2-5 without reply.

“We are very disappointed - we thought we were going okay and after twenty minutes we were leading by two and then we had a crazy ten minutes before half-time when they scored 2-5 without reply. At this level, when you are playing the top teams, you can’t give them leads like that. It put us under too much pressure in the second half. We got it back to four, but Kerry went up the field and scored a goal again which gave them that cushion. We are just disappointed with that spell before half-time. We didn’t react very well when they scored a goal and then the heavens just opened,” Shane Ronayne admitted.

“It’s something that we are really going to have to look hard at; where we went wrong and what we can do to sort it out because we have a big task ahead of us next week against Donegal. We are very disappointed. We felt we were ready for today, but, maybe, we are not at the level yet. It’s a learning curve and, hopefully, we can get something out of the next game because you are in a bit of danger of going down again. It’s real cutthroat, but, hopefully, we can lift our heads and have a cut off Donegal next week. Then we can see where that takes us.”

Management team: this season the Tipperary senior ladies football team is managed by Shane Ronayne (Mourneabbey, Cork) alongside mentors Anne-Marie Ruby (Mourneabbey, Cork), Elaine Harte (Moyne-Templetuohy), Tony Smith (Moyle Rovers), James O’Leary (Galtee Rovers) and Alan O’Connor (Cahir).

The TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship quarter-finals are scheduled to take place on Monday, August 6th and Sunday, August 12th, the semi-finals on Saturday, August 18th and Saturday, August 25th and the final on Sunday, September 16th.

The Tipperary team which faced Kerry last weekend read as follows: Lauren Fitzpatrick (Ballymacarbry, Waterford), Lucy Spillane (Fethard), Samantha Lambert (Ardfinnan, captain), Bríd Condon (Aherlow), Laura Dillon (Ardfinnan), Maria Curley (Templemore), Anna Rose Kennedy (Aherlow), Siobhán Condon (Aherlow), Orla O’Dwyer (Boherlahan), Niamh Lonergan (Moyle Rovers), Aishling Moloney (Cahir), Caoimhe Condon (Brian Ború’s), Róisín Howard (Cahir), Mairéad Morrissey (Brian Ború’s), Aisling McCarthy (Cahir). Subs: Gillian O’Brien (Moyle Rovers), Kate Davey (Fethard), Róisín McGrath (Moyle Rovers).

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