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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Kane says that Sligo are able

Kane says that Sligo are able

Liam í Maoldhomhnaigh

Sligo Weekender

 

The manager who twice guided Sligo Ladies Football
teams to All-Ireland finals has urged the current crop of Sligo
players, many of who are facing their third successive trip to Croke
Park, to seize the day.

Kathleen Kane was in charge of Sligo when they contested, but lost,
the TG4-sponsored Cumann Peil Gael na mBan All-Ireland Junior Championship
finals in 2004 and 2005.

Having stepped down following the teams second All-Ireland final
defeat, Kane has seen her former charges qualify for another decider
12 months later, this time via the competitions back door.

The squad also underwent a controversial change of management following
its unexpected Connacht final reversal and to add a further twist
to this years finale, their opponents in next Sundays decider are
Leitrim, whom they lost to in Augusts provincial showdown.

The players must assume responsibility for what they want to do
in the game they cant depend on signals from the sideline.

They have to be in the right frame of mind because they are going
to be playing in front of thousands, said the former inter-county
forward, whose lengthy playing career included a Connacht title
in the 1990s.

Kane believes that Sligos familiarity with the unique Croke Park
atmosphere will afford them a valuable edge on October 1.

But Leitrim, who last played in the All-Ireland Junior final in
1988, could counter that with the fact that they ended Sligos hopes
of a provincial four-in-a-row when the counties met in this years
Connacht final.

Incidentally, when Sligo won three consecutive Connacht titles (2003-2005)
Leitrim were the beaten finalists each time.

The [Sligo] players will know what it is like to run onto the [Croke
Park] pitch with the noise of the crowd and the size of the venue
Ð all that will be a brand new experience for the Leitrim players,
Kane stated.

Although Sligo’s one-point Connacht defeat was the subsequent catalyst
for the appointment of Paddy Henry as manager his predecessors,
joint-managers Fiona Golden and Padraig Mannion, stepped down after
the players expressed a vote of no confidence Kane believes that
this traumatic setback could provide an added incentive as the team
bids to finally banish its All-Ireland final jinx.

When Sligo lost two All-Ireland finals the players at least had
won a Connacht title in those campaigns.

The players will be going into Sundays [All-Ireland] final knowing
that if they lose to Leitrim a second time that they will have no
silverware to show for their efforts this year.

Although she remains satisfied with her decision to relinquish the
managerial role, Kane Ð who has attended all of Sligos games
in 2006 Ð still observes fixtures with a critical eye.

ÒI try to put myself in the manager’s shoes when I attend
a [Sligo] game. It was very emotional and nostalgic for me to watch
the team this year, especially in the semi-final when they beat
Clare.

ÒI know all the players, of course, but there has to be a
degree of distance between the squad and myself.

Should Sligo finally capture the West County Hotel Cup then Kanes
pivotal part in the team’s development will certainly be recognised.

During my time in charge we played 13 games and won 11. The two
games that we lost were, of course, at the biggest stage. I would
hope that the players would have taken some inspiration from that.

All-Ireland titles have to be earned and, although the players are
under pressure to deliver, I believe they have the ability to do
it. After all the upheaval this year they players have to prove
a point Ð but they know that, Kane added.

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