LEADING THE CHARGE Castlebar Mitchels’ Lisa McManamon drives forward during Saturday’s All-Ireland LGFA Intermediate club semi-final. Pic: Sportsfile
ALONG with the likes of Orla Conlon, Kathryn Sullivan and Olivia Tolster, Lisa McManamon has soldiered with the Castlebar Mitchels ladies team since its formation in 2001.
Having captained her beloved club to Mayo and Connacht intermediate honours in the past few months, the experienced midfielder may soon become the first woman to captain the Mitchels to an All-Ireland intermediate title.
This writer struggled to describe what transpired in the final fifteen minutes of last Saturday’s dramatic semi-final win over Castleisland Desmonds.
Speaking to The Mayo News after the final whistle, Castlebar’s 31-year old skipper was similarly perplexed.
“I don’t even know how to put it into words,” she smiled. “I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m delighted for the girls and delighted for the team, it’s brilliant. It’s a great day for Castlebar Mitchels ladies.
Having overcome the Kerry and Munster champions by four points after leading by ten at one stage, McManamon admitted that the Mitchels may have taken their eye off the ball when Desmonds hit back with two goals.
“When we scored those goals…we took the foot off the pedal a little bit. You can’t afford to do that, and they came back down and scored their two goals and it put pressure on us to up it.
“The girls did [up their game], and we did what we had to do to get over the line. It worked in the end and we’re delighted.”
Commenting on what spurred them to shoot 3-1 in five minutes after the water break, McManamon, who works as a PE teacher said: “I don’t know, because the third quarter for us is usually where we relax a little bit. It’s always usually our worst quarter.
“Today, for some reason everyone had the same goal at the end of the day, and we just drove on as a team.
“I suppose the little chats we have at the side line during the water breaks, they really drove us on. We said at one stage, ‘we’re playing fine, but we need to play great’ and I think that really drove the girls on.
“The fact that the girls are pushing so hard for places on the team as well, that’s driving everybody on as well,” she added.
“Nobody wants to come off that pitch, everybody wants to be on at the final whistle, especially when you’re winning.”
Lisa described the prospect of an All-Ireland final appearance as ‘amazing’.
“It’s a privilege to be there and it’s not every day that All-Ireland finals come by. It’s a great achievement for the club and for the girls and for our management.
“It just shows we came a long way since last year. We lost the county semi-final last year and since then we had a goal to win the county final this year.
“And you know what, every time we won a match, we pushed on for the next one and we said we weren’t going to lose. It’s brilliant. It’s so exciting.”