MIDFIELD DIAMOND Mayo’s Aoife Geraghty, is pictured in action against Galway. Pic: Ray Ryan
THE next phase of the Mayo ladies’ football adventure begins next Saturday when the beaten Connacht finalists host Tipperary in the opening round of the All-Ireland series at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar at 4pm.
For the past three weeks, since their disappointing defeat to Galway, Mayo captain Kathryn Sullivan and her team-mates have quietly readied themselves for this pivotal encounter.
The provincial final in Tuam was not a good outing for Mayo. They were well beaten by the Galway women and the disappointment was obvious.
That loss came on the back of their league semi-final reversal to All-Ireland champions, Meath.
However, Saturday’s clash with Tipperary is the ideal opportunity for Michael Moyles to get his new-look young squad back on track.
Mayo will again be without the Kelly sisters, Niamh and Grace and Sarah Rowe due to their AFL commitments; while Dayna Finn (basketball) and Fiona Doherty (soccer) are also unavailable at the moment.
In the moments following the Galway reversal, Moyles said Mayo’s performance didn’t reflect the talent and ability of his team.
“We fluffed a number of chances and kicked some very bad wides,” he noted. “We missed ten or eleven very scoreable chances and when there’s only four points between the teams at the end, that tells its own story.”
“Our transition was so poor in the first half,” he continued.
“We kicked the ball far too much coming out of defence. There wasn’t the hard running that we needed to make an impression and that’s very disappointing. Our half-forward line were sucked back and when we didn’t run the ball we had limited options in attack.”
Now, Moyles and the Mayo team have the opportunity to right those wrongs. However, The Mayo News understands that their plans have been hit by the news that All Star Rachel Kearns is out for the rest of the season due to injury.
Tipperary will travel to Mayo to take on the hot favourites hoping to improve on their Munster semi-final showing against Kerry. The Premier County were poor on that occasion and had to rely on free-taker Emma Morrisey for the vast majority of their scores.
If an improvement isn’t forthcoming, they will be overrun by the Mayo women and are unlikely to spring an upset.
In the Mayo camp, Moyles will be looking for a strong performance to get the All-Ireland series off to a positive start. He was particularly impressed by his younger players in Tuam and will be hoping for an even better day on this occasion.
“We had very good displays from some of our young players,” he said.
“I thought Aoife Geraghty was excellent. Saoirse Lally was good too. The experienced players such as Fiona McHale, Danielle Caldwell and Kathryn Sullivan really stepped up in the second half, but we had left ourselves with too much to do.
“We’re looking forward to three big championship games now … so that will be a huge learning process for our group.”
The road back towards Croker begins on Saturday.
All-Ireland Ladies SFC
Mayo v Tipperary
Saturday, June 11
Castlebar at 2pm