ANXIOUS WAIT Mayo captain Niamh Kelly was due to find out last night (Monday) if her appeal against a red card in the recent drawn Connacht LGFA Final was successful. Pic: Sportsfile
IT’S Sunday night and midnight is coming quickly over the horizon. Peter Leahy has just spent some well-earned golden time with his family, but he has one last conversation to have with The Mayo News before the duvet takes centre-stage for the Mayo senior ladies manager.
“It’s important to have perspective in life and spending a few hours with the family, laughing and chatting and having the craic certainly does that for me. Your loved ones are there in good times and bad and we should never forget that,” he added before addressing the reason for the late-night phone conversation.
“Of course, thoughts are never far from football and the ups and downs of team involvement. There’s always a huge amount to be done; a huge amount of conversations to be had and a huge amount of planning to put in place, but I’m not complaining. My family are hugely supportive and well aware of the requirements of the job, so they understand the time constraints.”
Seven days previously, Leahy had patrolled the sideline as his Mayo charges drew with Galway in the provincial final.
In post-match interviews he had expressed disappointment at the result, pride and delight in his team’s performance and great anticipation ahead of the replay, which will take place next Sunday.
On Sunday night, the bainisteoir’s thoughts hadn’t changed much.
“Of course we’re still disappointed not to have won the game. We put ourselves in a position to win it going into the last few minutes and had chances to put the game to bed. We failed to do that and Galway had a chance to win it at the death, so there were a lot of different emotions swirling around after the final whistle.
“There was a great sense of disappointment in the dressing-room but that soon melted away, and there was huge positivity at training this week. One can tell players how good they are and what they’re capable of, but they never really believe it until they actually go out and do it on the pitch.
“The girls will take a lot of positives from that performance and they’re chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch again and test themselves. The big challenge now is to put two good performances back-to-back and that’s what we’ll be looking to do next Sunday.
“We’ve had a good look at the game and there are a number of areas where improvements can be made, both in decision-making and skill execution,” he added.
“We’ll be looking to put that right on Sunday and I’m confident we can do that. Of course Galway are in the same boat but all we can influence is our own performance and that’s what we’ll be hoping to do,” he added.
The one aspect not in Mayo’s hands is the fate of team captain Niamh Kelly. The Moy Davitts forward was red-carded late in the drawn match and, at the time, Leahy was critical of the call.
“There was no intent to injure on Niamh’s part. She slid in for the ball and in no way meant to injure the opponent,” he told The Mayo News directly after the match.
The decision on Kelly’s fate was made last night (Monday), but on Sunday night, her manager hadn’t a lot to say on the subject.
“Of course, it’s not ideal not knowing whether Niamh will be available, especially given the nature of the incident, but these are just challenges which have to be overcome in the course of a season and we will cope no matter what is thrown at us.
“We have been building a panel throughout the league and every one of those players are well capable of wearing the green and red jersey and representing Mayo proudly,” Leahy concluded.
TG4 Connacht Ladies SFC Final Replay
Galway v Mayo
Saturday, July 6
Gaelic Grounds, Limerick at 4pm