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TG4 Connacht Ladies Senior Final Preview   19/06/2018

TG4 Connacht Ladies Senior Final Preview



Galway v Mayo 

Sunday 24th June 4pm

Elverys McHale Park Castlebar

The Connacht Ladies Senior Final between Mayo and Galway on June the 24th will surely ignite the All Ireland series in general as two of the sides that are likely perhaps to feature in the business end of the All Ireland championship face off in an eagerly awaited provincial decider.

The rivalry between Mayo and Galway is as intense as that which exists between their male counterparts and while Mayo will start the game as favourites after reaching last year’s All Ireland final and this year’s League final it still important to remember that Galway will enter Sunday’s game as defending provincial champions.

Peter Leahy has taken over from Frank Browne as the Mayo manager and so far, he has guided his team all the way to the National League Division final where unfortunately from a Mayo prospective they found Dublin too much of an obstacle as the ladies from the capital once again tasted national success at Mayo’s expense.

Leahy may have a secret ambition of landing an All-Ireland title but for the here and now Galway are dominating his thoughts ahead of the Connacht final. He speaks with genuine respect when it comes to Galway and describes them as one of the best teams in the country.

The 2018 League final defeat to Dublin still hurts Leahy, he totally acknowledges that Dublin are a very accomplished side but on the other hand the frustrating point for him was that his side failed to give an accurate account of their ability on the big stage in the league final. Leahy describes his troops as being resilient and the former Westmeath boss has the signs of a man that is relishing the arrival of the championship and the huge encouragement that the team will get from the fanatical Mayo support.

The big news to emerge from the Mayo camp in recent times is the return of Cora Staunton. The 36-year-old is set to line out in her 21st successive championship campaign before returning to Australia in November where she will play for a second season with the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

During the league Leahy was anxious to concentrate on the players he had at his disposal, now however with Staunton back in the fold he is happy to discuss the situation and is delighted with how she has settled back in to the May fold. Although he did remark that even after having played professional football in Australia Staunton was surprised at the pace Mayo were moving at ahead of the Connacht final.

Both Mayo and Galway will be looking to secure local bragging rights in the West, however both sides will also have one eye a little further down the road on the All Ireland series where another likely showdown between Galway and Mayo is likely to take place.

Claregalway’s Stephen Glennon is the man that Leahy will lock horns with when it comes to the much-anticipated tactical battle in McHale Park. The defending champions have a good record in the Connacht championship against the Green and Red and Glennon is also hopeful of another serious match on Sunday in the Connacht final.

The Galway manager speaking at the launch of the Connacht Championship was happy to install Sunday’s opposition as pre-match favourites based on their recent runs to the All-Ireland and National League finals.

When it comes to Mayo, Glennon admits his respect has grown for them as a result how they responded to the loss of Statunton. With the greatest player to have played the game now back in the Mayo ranks Glennon admits the challenge of defeating them has increased even more.

Galway have taken on board one or two harsh lessons in 2018 so far and Glennon is refreshingly open to talking about these events and is eager to learn from them. He identified a poor start to the league as one of the reasons that Galway endured a mixed campaign. The defeat against Mayo was painful, however Glennon was happy with how his sided responded and now heading into the Connacht final the Galway manager will be looking to put more lessons learned from that league reversal to effective use.

In the lead up to the Provincial final Galway have several injury concerns, some players will face a race against time to be fit for the championship opener. The game will perhaps come too soon for Louise Ward to start, however don’t be surprised if she makes an appearance from the bench. Once again there will be championship life for both Galway and Mayo after the weekend and while winning the Connacht championship is vital, both Stephen Glennon and Peter Leahy also have their sights set on the business end of the All Ireland championship.






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