THE new year may only be in its infancy but the Mayo Ladies senior team are already pushing to make 2018 their most memorable yet. The All-Ireland finalists have been back on the training pitch since early December and this morning their new manager, Peter Leahy laid his cards firmly on the table when stating that the Green and Red are determined to go a step further in 2018.
The Westmeath man joined the Mayo set-up in a coaching role after last season’s Connacht final loss to Galway and took on the Bainisteoir’s bib when Frank Browne stepped away at the end of the season.
He’s hugely optimistic about the role and believes that there is untapped potential in the Mayo ranks, which will drive them to their fifth All-Ireland title and first since 2003. A trawl of club and college football has thrown up some previously untapped talent and that, added to the progress made last season, leaves the Green and Red in a very positive position according to the new manager.
“Everyone knows how good the Mayo Ladies are but until you stand on a training pitch with them and witness that talent and energy up close you don’t fully grasp it. These are serious athletes, driven by the desire to be the very best and it has been great working with them over the past month.
“I’m conscious that there is a massive pool of talent in the county and with that in mind, I contacted every club in Mayo and every third-level college in Ireland looking for women who might not have been in the system previously and we’ve unearthed some top players.
“This has added a great freshness to the whole thing and with the Carnacon players coming back this week after their All-Ireland club win, we’re in a very good place right now,” the manager stated.
Leahy and his charges will be in competitive action in the first round of the national league at the end of January, but already the new manager has been impressed by the support his side are getting on the ground in Mayo.
“Mayo is a massive sporting county. Everyone loves their football and the groundswell of support we’ve got over the past few weeks has been very special. Wherever we’ve looked for support we’ve got it and that has added to the sense of enthusiasm and possibility around the squad.
There’s already a sense that 2018 will be a very special season and we’re working hard to make that happen.”
Mayo will play Leahy’s home county Westmeath in the opening round of the Lidl National League on Sunday, January 28th.