"No fear of complacency" States Kildare Captain Brianne Leahy

fear of complacency promises Leahy 

By Brendan Coffey


on above image to go to web site

IF Brianne Leahy leads Kildare to the All-Ireland
summit on Sunday, she’ll have the bonus of a birthday
celebration two days later. However, it’s most
definitely the former and not the latter that
concerns the Kildare All-Star, who’ll be 23. “No
it didn’t really have any impact, and I didn’t
even think of it on the day” says Leahy of the
coincidence on her birthday colliding with last
year’s All-Ireland final date against Donegal.
So 12 months on from their second All-Ireland
defeat in three seasons, Leahy is resolute in
not looking back on the disappointment of that
occasion. “We don’t want to dwell on it really,
you know you shouldn’t analyse it too much. Donegal
just performed much better on the day, whereas
we didn’t perform as well. But you know it can
be something to build on.” And Kildare have built
on that defeat by returning to Croke Park for
their third final appearance.

time lucky perhaps but luck will hardly come
into it for a battle weary Kildare, who will
surely view this latest All-Ireland quest
as a task to be completed as much as it will
be a great occasion for all involved. It has
been a dramatic 12 months for the Lady Lilies
and if overcoming last year’s defeat wasn’t
difficult enough, they were shocked to the
core when manager, Sean ‘Goggy’ Delaney died
suddenly earlier in the year. “Yeah, Goggy
was a big shock to us. 

But we’ve come through a lot, you know we
pulled together and got through it, but it
was a big shock.” This is a strong-willed
bunch of players and Leahy believes there
is a great spirit within the camp. “When the
going gets tough, you know we’re able to step
it up a notch. I think we’ve a much better
team this year, we’ve a good mix of players
– players with experience from last year and
then a few of the younger ones that have come
in.” So will Kildare fans travel in confidence?


leading Kildare in the Parade before last
years final

have the experience and have the players, and
they have the confidence it seems, but they’re
by no means complacent. “I’d say I’m confident,
but we’re not cocky. You know it might be easy
to get complacent, but we saw what happened with
Allenwood and Sarsfields.” Allenwood’s shock win
over Sarsfields – perennial championship favourites
for the men’s senior football crown – may well
serve the Kildare ladies notice of the dangers
of complacency and though they are expected to
win against Sligo, Leahy is weary of them rising
to the occasion. “I think Sligo will be very hungry,
and they’ll be highly motivated, you know, listening
to people saying that Kildare are going to win.
They could come down and really rise to the occasion
and we have to expect that. Just because we have
lost two All-Irelands doesn’t mean we have a divine
right to the silverware. Nobody has a divine right.
We might deserve it but it’s all about who’s hungriest
for it.”

Such wisdom is what you might expect in a captain,
one who has lifted the Leinster Cup on five successive
occasions, but it’s easy to forget that Brianne
is only just approaching 23, the gifted midfielder
having just finished a science degree in NUI Maynooth.

The blend of youth and experience is apparent
but it’s more a case of the experienced youth
and the youth, such is age profile of Ladies football.
Kildare arrive at this final via wins over Wexford
in the Leinster final, and Armagh in the All-Ireland
semi-final. Both games were tough fixtures for
the Lilies and Leahy feels that the Armagh game
was in many ways the making of this side. “It
was really tough against Armagh, you know. The
conditions were terrible, and it was just a total
team effort. I mean we had 13 on the pitch at
one stage.” Kildare had eight points to spare
in that semi-final win, but they had even less
to spare against Wexford, who gave them a closer
than expected contest. One factor may have been
Kildare’s lack of competitive fixtures, with a
number of facile wins in the Leinster championship
round robin structure. “Yeah those games (in round
robin series) don’t really help, because we’re
a junior team playing other sides’ second teams,
but if we’re playing senior next year, those games
will be a big help to us.”

Diplomatic and sensible, the Grange star displays
all the traits you’d want in a captain and leader.
She admits now, however, that she just wants the
day to arrive. “Training’s eased down; we’re just
doing a lot of sprints and working as a unit.
We’re training three nights a week and things
are going well. “Waiting is the hardest part at
the moment and everybody’s just really looking
forward to the day. It should be a great day.
We have the players to do it and we just have
to go out there and perform.”

article was kindly given to us by The Kildare
Nationalist Newspaper




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