FOLLOW THE LEADER Niamh Kelly from Moy Davitts has been chosen to captain Mayo this season. Pic: Sportsfile
TALENTED forward Niamh Kelly will captain the Mayo ladies for the 2019 league and championship season.
The Moy Davitts star has established herself as one of Mayo’s most dangerous assets and valuable leader in recent seasons and takes over from Sarah Tierney who skippered Mayo last year before leaving the panel.
“Niamh is a brilliant footballer, [has] a brilliant attitude, [and is] a different type of leader than Sarah Tierney,” Peter Leahy told The Mayo News.
“Sarah Tierney was a tremendous leader, a really, really good leader and vocal, [she] would be very organized, very involved in everything else.
“Where Niamh is purely football, she will die on the field, everything is done through her football, very approachable. And a really good leader in a different way.
“Shes’s [Kelly] one of our senior players, one of four that played in the  All-Ireland Final.”
Mayo’s National League season begins with a home game to Tipperary next Sunday, February 3. Peter Leahy says his main ambition is retaining the team’s Division 1 status.
“The girls need to learn this level,” he said. “One thing about Division 1, it’s very cut-throat.
“You don’t have much learning curve, [but] we got away with it last year because we had more senior players. We got to mix a bit more, we were able to always have eight or nine girls on the pitch that were battle-hardened at this level. This year that won’t happen.
“Our ambition would be, obviously to stay Division 1 – that’s the number one ambition. And to grow all the time every time we’re out and learn from where we’re at. Having said that, it was my ambition last year and we made a National League final, so you don’t know where you’re going to be.”
Leahy also added that Mayo will use the league as a platform towards their Connacht Final showdown with Galway later in the summer. And he welcomed the recent news of a number of double headers featuring county mens and womens’ teams.
“To go up to Dublin and to Croke Park is every girls’ dream,” he said. “And to go up with a very, very fresh young team, who haven’t had much exposure to Division 1 is going to be a tough, tough task but it’s so exciting. You can already see girls, all they want to do is be involved.
“Our girls are brilliant, and I go home every day now after training with a smile on my face. “Are we a top one or two team in the country? I don’t know. But I tell you one thing, training is enjoyable and their attitude is perfect, and it’s exciting to be the Mayo manager.”