“I would love a situation where the four girls couldn’t make the team, I’d be a very happy man” said Mayo Ladies Senior Manager Peter Leahy on Sunday afternoon after watching his side see off Donegal in their league opener in Swinford.
Leahy was reflecting on the fact that he is missing four (Niamh Kelly, Grace Kelly, Sarah Rowe and Aileen Gilroy ) of his six starting forwards from last years All Ireland semi-final loss to Galway for the next few months as they take part in the WAFL in Australia.
The Mayo manager admitted the league this year will be all about finding new players for the championship later this summer and with a win now under their belts from round one, if they can get one more win they should be safe from any relegation worries.
“We’ve kind of a fortress built out here in Swinford we haven’t lost here in three years, we train here and we have created a bit of a fortress, it wasn’t a pretty match or the best it is January football – so you can’t expect too much.
“There’s no play offs this year it’s straight to a final, but it is the same as last year to find players. We had three minors on the field today who had never played for the seniors before which was a huge plus - there were three other girls who had never played for Mayo before – so we had six people who never played for Mayo before today and that is what we are looking for, we are looking for girls to get experience.
“In the championship this year it is slightly different, we need a panel of 25 not 15 so it is about developing players and bringing them on. We took off a midfielder off at half time Alannah (Duffy ) who was having a super game – but she had ran her legs off over the 30 minutes and we brought on an international basketball player (Dayna Finn ) who we got home for the weekend, we have the talent there it is all about developing it and getting the amount of time in the legs we possibly can, so the league is about developing players.”
As for the four who are away at the minute they will have to fight to get their places back come summer Leahy said: “We have told our girls here and the girls that are away, the girls that are away are part of our panel – but they will have to fight to get their place back. If anyone shows up and does their job here for Mayo with the jersey on they will keep the jersey and that’s just the way it is.
“For the girls that are coming back nobody will get an automatic start, I think everyone knows me well enough now and about me it is about what you do, not who you are or whatever the case may be.
“The girls who are away will have a lot of work to do, we will have a method of play, a system, a hard working ethos, I would love a situation where the four girls couldn’t make the team, I’d be a very happy man.