Can they impart their experience? 2 Past Players go head to head on the sidelines..

LONGFORD Ladies senior football team manager Diane O’Hora believes that the feel-good factor engulfing the county can inspire her team to victory in next Sunday’s Bord Gáis Energy National Football League Division 4 final against Limerick.

Longford football is riding the crest of a wave following the success of the senior men’s team in last Saturday’s Division 3 NFL decider at Croke Park.

And O’Hora, a former All-Ireland senior medallist with Mayo, hopes that her players can be inspired by their male counterparts in the quest for silverware.

O’Hora said: “There’s great interest at the moment, especially after the men won the Division 3 final, and they won Division 4 last year. All of the girls went up to support them last Saturday. Yvonne Barden has brothers (Paul and David) on the team, Edel Quinn has a brother (Michael) and Marie Brady’s brother (Dermot) was corner back.

“I definitely think it’s a good opportunity to ride the crest of a positive wave. It’s very exciting and with the men doing so well, the girls would like to think that they can achieve something as well. Getting out of Division 4 and into Division 3 is the ultimate incentive for them.”

At O’Connor Park in Tullamore next Sunday, the stakes are higher for the Ladies as, unlike the men, just one team gets promoted from Division 4.

And with three players facing fitness tests, O’Hora insists that her players are up against it, despite a 2-11 to 0-9 victory over Limerick earlier in the season.

She explained: “We can’t afford to take our eye off the ball – Limerick are a very strong team, a very good footballing side. And they’re tipped to win the All-Ireland intermediate title this year. This will be the hardest game that our girls have played this year.

“But that’s the pressure – it’s winner takes all, no second chance after Sunday. You’ve got the mettle for it or you don’t. We’ll find out our true colours and how good we really are, and what we need to work on going forward.”

Limerick boss Ann Eager, meanwhile, has insisted that Longford are “overwhelming favourites” for victory as the mind games begin in earnest.

The Kerry native said: “It’s a final and I’m delighted to be there because I only took over in January. Anything can happen on the day but to be honest, we would be underdogs. I know they beat us a good while ago but they would be overwhelming favourites for this. We have a good bit of work done and if we’re good enough, we should win it but if not, we won’t be found wanting in terms of effort.”

Eager insisted: “I think both teams should be going up to Divisoin 3 – it’s disappointing and it’s the same with the Division 2 final, with Mayo and Galway there. Both of those teams deserve to go up but that’s the way the system is now and we have nothing to lose. Going by the results to date, everybody expects Longford to win it. They won their semi-final very convincingly (against Offaly) while we won ours by just a point (0-8 to 0-7 against Louth).”

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