SIDELINED Eilis Ronayne sustained a dislocated elbow. Pic: Sportsfile
IN senior championship football the ‘W’ is all that matters.
The Mayo ladies accomplished that task last Sunday when battling their way past Cavan to qualify for the All Ireland SFC quarter-final with a game to spare.
However, that’s only half the story.
Mayo were tested to the very limit by a Cavan team who surged back into contention in the closing stages. The scores were tied entering the final 90 seconds before a long-range point from Tara Needham secured victory and a place in the last eight.
Earlier in the game, two of Mayo’s defenders, Éilis Ronayne and Saoirse Lally had to leave the field after colliding while racing for possession. Their loss seemed to unsettle the team and it required an almighty effort to win the game.
“It was a battle surely, but we came through and that’s a huge positive for us,” Michael Moyles told The Mayo News yesterday (Monday).
“The collision was a total accident. Both Éilis and Saoirse only see the ball and never shy away from anything, so it was a serious coming together. Éilis dislocated her elbow, but we were fortunate to have Dr Lisa Cunningham on hand to deal with the situation.
“Saoirse felt she was okay and wanted to play on but it became obvious that she wasn’t right, and had to come off soon after. It turns out she has a broken collar-bone.”
The duo will miss next Saturday’s game and Moyles will also be without All Star attacker Rachel Kearns, who picked up a knee injury a few weeks ago.
“They’re big losses but we’re building a squad to compete at the very top level and other girls will have to step up. We have a solid base of experience with players such as Lisa (Cafferky), Sinead (Cafferky), Shauna (Howley), ‘Sully’ (Kathryn Sullivan) and Fiona (McHale).
“Our younger girls are gaining more experience with every passing game and we’re all looking forward to the weekend,” added the manager.
Last Sunday’s narrow victory sends Mayo into the quarter-finals and whoever wins between themselves and Dublin will top the group and secure a tie against Donegal.
The losers of Saturday’s game will face Cork in the last eight and Moyles says either team will pose a massive challenge.
“We’re really looking forward to playing Dublin. Footballers always want to test themselves against top class opponents and that’s what we’ll face on Saturday. Then, we’ll have either Donegal or Cork and both of them are very fine teams, so there are big challenges ahead of us and that’s the way we want it.”
All-Ireland Ladies SFC
Mayo v Dublin
Saturday, June 25
Portlaoise at 7.15pm