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Ladies Ulster Final Preview

posted 25 Oct 2011, 04:05 by Jonathan Tavey   [ updated 5 Feb 2012, 04:49 ]
Brenda McAnespie's interview with Inniskeen captain Sharon McGahon. 

Inniskeen finally made the breakthrough this year after losing out in the county final the last 2 years. They have been very impressive this year to date and if they play to their potential, they will take some beating. The following are the questions I put to Sharon: 

Inniskeen have been knocking on the door in the Junior championship for the past 3 years. Now this year you have finally made the breakthrough. What do you think has been responsible for this breakthrough?

I think this year we have been really focused on what we wanted to achieve. We started out training last January and from the word go the whole team had one goal in mind – to win the Junior Championship that was so close to us in previous years. We got a new management outfit this year also, Martin Traynor. His drive and energy and knowledge of the sport and what needs to be done to win was also a great help. He set up a good hard training plan, had us eating healthy and made sure we all got physio checks and kept ourselves in the fittest form possible and this all added to the mixture that formed the success we have achieved so far this year. 

Inniskeen have been successful in the Ulster championship before .Were you part of the panel then. Are there many of the panel that were on that successful team then ,still a part of this panel?

Indeed we have. Inniskeen got to the Junior All Ireland final in 2005 (v Abberdorney of Kerry), which was a tremendous feat. That year we came through Ulster in fighting form. The year after that, in 2006, we were moved up Intermediate and we got to the Ulster semi final. Unfortunately we missed out that year but it was a tremendous effort after being Junior for a number of years and then to contest an Intermediate Semi final the first year we were moved up a grade; this shows the strength and determination in the Inniskeen squad. Many of the players that were a part of that winning team are still playing today. There are about 11 players in total who participated and won with that team. That experience has carried the team and its changes over the years. I was playing with that team and I remember the competition there was for places on the starting 15 for every match. That same competition for places is evident this year. We have the experience of the more senior members and we have a wealth of energy from the more junior members and this means all places are fought for; all healthy competition that drives each player to be at their best all the time!

What do you think are your teams strengths this year?

This year we have minimal injuries and this means that if someone is having an off day there is always a player on stand-by to fill in and play just as good of football. In last years final we had 4 or 5 girls out due to injury but his year we made sure to keep ourselves right, having every niggle or pain looked at and sorted. We have met some teams in the competition so far that have relied on perhaps 4 or 5 players to win their games and with few subs to bring on when someone is injured. For us that’s not the case. We have a very strong, solid defence line, we have a super mid field and our forward line is speedy and accurate. But we also have a subs bench full of top quality players and this stands to us. Where perhaps other years we did rely on a few key players scattered across the field to play key roles and bring success, this year it’s a full team effort. Our management team also has brought a new energy and new ideas to the team. Martins “no nonsense” approach to training and to games keeps everyone on their toes and we all trust him and his decisions. This is very important to us as a team.

Have you any idea of your opposition. Any players to watch out for?

I have to say our management team have been very good at preparing us for games so far. They have been to matches and picked out key players on opposing teams we were meeting in the competition. This weekend is no different. We know that Sperrin Og have a speedy full forward line, they have a very strong mid field and their half back line is solid. With this in mind our management team is preparing us for a tough game and we know where to focus our strengths to try and keep them out of their game. 

Having watched yous play this year, I sense there is a feeling of confidence within the team. Would you agree with this, and do you feel confident going into Saturday’s game?

There is confidence this year. We have become very close as a team and I think this is important. A lot of our team is made up of sisters, cousins, friends; players who have been through the thick and thin of what sport involves. This has made us a very strong unit. We are very supportive as a team and we have confidence in each other. This shines through in the way we play. We believe in each other and are willing to play to our best ability for each other and for ourselves. Martin is managing us this year and the team have bonded very well with him also. The trust the team has in him while he makes important decisions during important games, also contributes to a solid unit.  We feel confident going into Saturday’s game but this does not mean we are complacent. We know that this Ulster final will be the toughest game we have played this year so far and we are preparing well for it. We are heading into this game with our heads screwed on willing to play our best for 60mins of hard football. We expect Sperrin Og to put up a good quality game of football and we are looking forward to the match.

Who do you think your key players will be?

Fiona Callan has come on leaps and bounds this year. She joined the senior squad this year for the first time and she is a top quality goal keeper. She is hard to beat on one to one and she has got us out of many sticky situations in the past. We have a very solid defence line. We have played with the same defence line out for the best part of the year and it has worked very well for us. Eimear Kelly and Ruth Lorenz have grown in their abilities and are strong behind the ball coming out.  We have very strong players in the mid field. Abby Duffy has endless energy and she, along with Isobel Kierans have gelled well in centre field and provide the forwards with endless supply of balls and play key roles in scoring for the team. We have Voreen Quigley at full forward who is a very confident player. Her experience stands to her and to the team and she always has a goal or point up her sleeve.

In conclusion Sharon stated that she would just like to thank Michael Traynor and Jim McConville who have been training them over the last three weeks in the run up to this Ulster Final. They have been fantastic in their preparations for games and training. She also wanted  to  thank Martin Traynor for his commitment and motivation to the team all year, and to commend the support from locals and from other teams and clubs. She hopes that they will all be out flying the red and green for them on Saturday in Truagh. She congratulated the team for their efforts and hard work and wished both teams the very best of luck

On behalf of the county board, we wish Inniskeen the very best of luck this weekend.

Panel: 1 Fiona Callan, 2 Eimear Kelly, 3 Sharon McGahon, 4 Ruth Lorenz, 5 Arlene Kelly, 6 Laura Kelly, 7 Aisling McGeeney, 8 Isobel Kierans, 9 Linda Callan, 10 Tracey McGeeney, 11 Abby Duffy, 12 Miriam Kelly, 13 Bronagh Duffy, 14 Voreen Quigley, 15 Roisin McKenna, 16 Kathrina Byrne, 17 Anna McKenna, 18 Anna Jones, 19 Laura Ashfield, 20 Julieanne Finegan, 21 Gemma Woods, 22 Emma Finnegan, 23 Ciara McGeeney, 24 Josie Fitzpatrick, 25 Alice McGahon, 26 Edel Kierans, 27 Emma Murphy

Management: Martin Traynor, Micheal Traynor, Jim McConville

Physio: Amanda McArdle