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Leahy says ladies ‘are a new team now’

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HAPPY DAYS Mayo’s Tracey Hall (left), Ciara Whyte, Kathryn Sullivan and Maria Reilly (right) celebrate after beating Armagh in last Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final. Pic: Sportsfile

Mayo now ‘a new team’ says Leahy

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Conor McKenna

MAYO manager Peter Leahy says the All-Ireland semi-finalists have ‘become a new team’ and hailed their qualification for a last four clash with Galway as ‘a huge achievement’.
Speaking to The Mayo News after last Saturday’s win over Armagh at a rain-soaked Pearse Park in Longford; Leahy said: “This is a journey for these girls.
“We did a video up for them recently about their journey, and every team has a point where it becomes a new team, and we became a new team last year over all that happened.
“We’re an open book, warts and all, cuts and all, we just get on with it.
“I have to say it’s been my most enjoyable year coaching any team, both men and women.
“This has been the best year I’ve had as far as total commitment from players, I mean total commitment. I never ever have an excuse.
“There’s never anyone late. People are doing exams. Aileen Gilroy’s coming up from Waterford for God’s sake for training, coming back from a cruciate ligament injury in six months.
“It’s amazing what these girls are willing to do for their county.”
Leahy also paid tribute to Mayo’s Danielle Caldwell who was named as TG4’s ‘Player of the Match’ after her marking job on Armagh’s most dangerous forward proved pivotal in her team’s latestwin.
“Blaithin Mackin is probably one of the best players in the country and Danielle Caldwell, we were calling her ‘Leeroy’ all week, because she was doing a Leeroy Keegan job,” explained the Mayo boss.
“She certainly did that today. I’m glad they gave her the ‘Player of the Match’ award, she was just outstanding. Not alone did she mark Blaithin out of the game, but she also got a point herself and she broke up a huge amount of play.
“I think our tacking was quality today,” he added. “The disappointing thing was we fell back on ourselves a little bit much and let them back into the game when we seemed to be in control of the game.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on, but it’s a huge achievement for us to get one place forward and go into a semi-final. In order for us to achieve what we need to achieve, which is to win an All-Ireland, we’ve to beat three provincial winners to do that.
“We’ve done one already, we’ve beaten Donegal already, and now we’ll work on the others. “But we’re in a semi-final and we’re still in the game. We’re playing in Croke Park in two weeks’ time.”