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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Interview with Kildare manager Nuala O'Mahony

Perfect
blend bears fruit for Nuala By John Roddy

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IT was a natural progression for Nuala O’Mahony
to take over the management of the Kildare ladies
football team this year, for the Allenwood woman
has been head, neck and heels into the club and
underage scene since the infancy of the girls’
game in the county. She would have wished for
the circumstances to have been very different,
however. She began the year as selector but then
tragedy struck. “When Sean Delaney passed away
earlier in the year the county board felt that
they needed someone who knew the players and also
the up and coming talent in the county, so I suppose
I was a kind of natural choice” says Nuala. “Later
on in the year team trainer Peter Dobbyn finished
up and that was how Sean O’Toole came on board.”

It has been a good year for Kildare so far, with
winning the second division of the league an early
highlight, beating old rivals Donegal on the way.
“Donegal had beaten us in last year’s All-Ireland
final and that victory gave the team a huge boost
in confidence” declares O’Mahony. The Leinster
campaign began quietly enough with comfortable
wins over Meath, Offaly, Longford and Dublin.
“It was really only in the Wexford game in the
Leinster final that we were in any way tested
and that was no harm at all.

Against Armagh in the semi-final we were able
to enjoy the luxury of missing a penalty, conceding
one which was scored and still having the composure
to win comfortably enough.” The Kildare boss puts
that confidence down to a nice blend of youth
and experience. “Three years ago a very young
Kildare team lost heavily to Roscommon in the
final, while last year a couple of second half
goals ended our challenge in a matter of minutes.
“This year the team is much better balanced, with
a number of fine young footballers coming along,
who have blended very nicely into the team, notably
Elaine Dillon of Suncroft, Stacey Cannon from
my own club Na Fianna and Clodagh Flanagan of
Balyna. While it will be a first final for all
of them, there is enough experience in the team
to help them along the way.

And what a bounty of experience there is. “We
have long-serving players like Anne Hughes giving
the defence a very steady look about it. We’re
really well served in midfield also with Brianne
and Kate Leahy, both of whom have been around
for a while with both Kildare and their club Grange.
Noelle Earley has really blossomed this year when
moving into the centre-forward berth and in full-forward
Tracy Noone we have one of the best forwards in
the game.” Nuala admits that she hasn’t actually
seen Sligo but reckons that they have to be there
on merit. “By all accounts they’re a very fast
young team and we’ll have to really perform on
the day to beat them.

Still I reckon last year’s experience should stand
to us and we have to be in with a really great
chance of finally bringing a junior All-Ireland
title to Kildare and having a crack at the big
guns in the senior grade next season.”

She refuses to be drawn on the fixture clash that
sees the male version of the county SFC and MFC
finals taking place the same day, beyond making
a wry admission that it is particularly difficult
for both herself and fellow Allenwood woman, wing-forward
Stacey Cannon, as well as the likes of Naomi Treacy
from the St. Laurence’s end. “I suppose there’s
no point in letting it get to us at this stage;
it’s just one of those things that you have to
live with. At the end of the day it’s the right
result is all that counts – in the three games
of course!”

This
article was kindly given to us by The Kildare
Nationalist Newspaper

 

 

 


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