Kane faces managerial headache ahead of Sligo's biggest game

faces managerial headache ahead of Sligo’s
biggest game By Joe Callaghan

on above image to go to web site

Who would be a manager? Last month Kathleen Kane
became the first manager to lead a Sligo Ladies
Gaelic football team to a Croke Park final. Now
she is faced with undoubtedly the biggest selection
headache possible. Hers is the toughest of tasks
deciding who will get the chance to play in the
showpiece event at GAA headquarters next Sunday.
She will make and break her players’ dreams. The
fact that it is such a tight-knit and spirited
group only serves to make the Sligo manager’s
task even more difficult. But whatever about the
mental make-up of her players, it is their on-the-field
form that will surely dictate the final.

Something which must surely worry the Sligo manager
is the lack of success in front of goal for some
of her forwards in the last two encounters, in
particular the full-forward line’s lack of success
in the semi-final hammering of Cork. If you were
to take star pair Stephanie O’Reilly and Louise
Brett out of the Sligo side, one wonders how they
would cope. Only 2-3 of the 11-18 from Sligo’s
last two games against Cork and Leitrim have come
from the other forwards. It is quite a shocking
statistic and it is a problem that Kane must get
to the bottom of.

There are two obvious ways forward for the south
Sligo native either by making some positional
changes or by altering the personnel involved.
Options abound for Kane Ð and her selectors if
she chooses the latter, and makes changes to her
line-up for Sunday’s clash with Leinster champions
Kildare. Therese Marren was hugely impressive
when introduced to the front-line in the Connacht
final victory over Leitrim grabbing a goal and
a point, the goal a clinical finish that showed
maturity beyond her years. Helena Haran is another
that could come into Kane’s plans.

St Mary’s pair Karen Maloney and Niamh Mannion
are also sure to be causing headaches for the
management. Maloney, in particular, is desperately
unlucky to have found herself limited to just
five minutes of football in Sligo’s last two games.
For this writer, the Sligo Weekender Sligo Sports
Awards [Ladies Gaelic football] recipient for
2002 would surely link up with other winners of
that award, Brett (2003) and O’Reilly (2001),
to devastating effect. In the process this would
create a three-pronged attack that would cause
any opposition huge problems.

Maloney’s absence is something of a mystery, especially
when her club form is considered the 16-year-old
was one of the major cogs in St Mary’s, the Sligo
Senior champions set-up throughout this summer’s
series of matches, displaying awesome attacking
play and wracking up an amazing number of scores.
She and Mannion, who was impressive as a substitute
in the Cork encounter, were also members of the
St Mary’s side that outclassed Castlebar in the
first round of the Connacht Club Intermediate
Championship last weekend.

Elsewhere, Kane is not quite as challenged, the
midfield pairing of Angela Doohan and the ever-impressive
Bernice Byrne are sure to start. With the Atlanta-based
Jackie Mulligan expected to return to the half-back
line, the only defensive dilemma is whether to
stick with Grainne O’Gara at full-back or bring
in Valerie O’Byrne, who has been superb in St
Mary’s hugely successful summer. Whatever her
final decision, Kane’s task is pivotal and one
that will go quite a way to deciding what colour
medals Sligo’s superb Ladies Gaelic football team
pick up on Sunday afternoon.

Sligo Junior squad Jackie Mulligan (captain),
Imelda McNulty (Castleconnor); Aisling McTiernan,
Louise Brett, Helena Haran (Cloonacool); Karen
Maloney, Fiona Maye, Ruth Goodwin, Joanne O’Connell,
Valerie O’Byrne, Niamh Mannion, Caroline Currid
(St Mary’s); Angela Doohan, Yvonne Roddy, Noelle
Gormley, Katrina Connolly, Claire Rooney, Michelle
McGowan (vice-captain), Bernie McGowan (St Nathy’s);
Stephanie O’Reilly, Bernice Byrne, Sinead McTiernan,
Louise Smith, Michelle Mostyn (Geevagh); Grainne
O’Gara, Niamh O’Grady (Eastern Harps); Louise
Harte, Caroline Benson (Shamrock Gaels); Therese
Marren (Curry); Siobhan O’Sullivan (St Molaise
Gaels) Manager: Kathleen Kane (St Nathy’s) Selectors:
Annette Kearns (St Nathy’s), Patricia McDonagh
(Eastern Harps), Shane Quigley (Shamrock Gaels)

Physio: Sarah Casserly Trainer: Ashley Henry

article was kindly given to us by The Sligo Weekender




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