The Mayo ladies senior football team will make the trip to Blackhill on Sunday to take on Monaghan in a top of the table clash against the ladies from the Farney county. Both sides are locked on nine points from their four games so far thanks to three wins from their four games, also on nine points in the table at the moment are defending All Ireland champions Cork.
The top five places in the division are only separated by three points at present in what looks like one of the most competitive leagues in recent times.
Mayo have won three on the bounce since their opening day defeat to Cork, picking up wins on the road to Dublin and Laois along with a home win over Tyrone in round four. Mayo have put up an impressive tally of 2-47 in their four games to date (with star forward Cora Staunton scoring 2-37 of that tally ), while Monaghan have racked up 8-45 in their wins over Tyrone, Cork, and Laois in their four games. Monaghan’s sole defeat also came on the opening day when they were well beaten by Dublin on a score of 0-12 to 0-3.
Mayo manager Frank Browne is very happy with the way things have been progressing so far in the league. “We’re coasting along under the radar a bit and doing our business, it’s all about getting our stuff done ourselves and not worrying about the rest.” Brown said that his side have so far achieved their first priority on the field. “The first thing we wanted to do was to make sure that we were hard to beat and we’ve been doing that, once you achieve that you can start to work on the other things.”
One of the moves he has made this year is to deploy Yvonne Byrne in a sweeping role in defence, and it has worked out well so far for the side. “She’s a smashing player, she can really play anywhere. It’s a hard role to play, you can often see players chasing after every ball and player. It’s about moving at the right time. She’s great back there and keeps the defence in line, she’s like a chess player reading the board, her ability to read the game is top class.”
Getting the players to buy into the philosophy of how he wants them to play is something Browne wanted to get to early in the year, he explained. “If the players don’t buy into what you’re doing then you’re going nowhere. You all have to be going off the same page and that’s what we are doing.”
As for Sunday’s game against Monaghan, it is going to be a real test for his girls he says: “Monaghan is going to be a tough game, it’s really going to tell us where we are. The league is very tight this year, there are probably six teams all within a good shout of making the semi-finals. The semi-finals is where we want to be, we’re looking at making that and then hopefully the final. The more competitive games you get under your belt the better, with the long lay off between league and championship, it keeps you off the challenge circuit, because the standard of teams you want to play against are the ones you’ll be facing in the championship and you don’t want to show too much of your hand. But it’s going good so far and we’ll hopefully pick up another win on Sunday. Winning is a habit and that’s the habit we want”