The Mayo Ladies senior football team will be looking to bounce back from their opening day defeat to Cork in Swinford on Sunday when they head to the midlands to take on Laois.
Frank Browne’s first game back in charge of the ladies team ended in defeat against the All Ireland champions Cork, but he and his backroom team will take a lot of heart from their performance.
Speaking to the Mayo Advertiser yesterday, Browne said: “We competed very well in the game. It came down to a combination of a few things, like in what you would describe as the championship quarter, after half-time they scored 1-3 without reply and we got a player sinbined and that cost us. But you have to take into account that we would only be going at around 55 per cent yet, where Cork would have a lot of residual fitness left over from their All Ireland run. They are a great team, but we saw enough on Sunday to see that we have lots and lots of potential.”
Browne continued: “It was a great learning curve for some of the younger girls like Niamh Kelly who we brought on after 15 minutes and Doireann Hughes and others. A game first off against the All Ireland champions is as hard as you’re going to get and they did really well against them.”
With Mayo’s first championship game not until the Connacht final against Galway in mid July, making progress to the league knock-out stages is something that Browne is hoping to achieve. “Getting a top four spot is the aim and into the semi-final, it serves two purposes. One it puts you in with a shout of winning the competition, and secondly it keeps us playing competitive football longer before the break comes up between league and championship. Getting a result on Sunday against Laois is something that we are really focused on, it’ll get us back on track and start to build the momentum we want,” said the Mayo Ladies manager.
As for being back on the sideline in a national competition with the Mayo Ladies side for the first time in a long time, the Wexford native really enjoyed it. “It was great, but being involved with these girls is great. You would have heard people say this and that about some players. But all the want is the best chance to win. They are elite athletes who train and work very hard. All they want is the correct environment to be put in place so they can have the best chance of winning, they’re a super determined bunch.”
Mayo will take on Laois in round two of the Ladies GAA National Football League in Mountmellick Sarsfields in Laois at 2pm on Sunday.