Longford ladies take on Roscommon for place in the All-Ireland semi-final

Ann Marie Bratten on the attack for Longford in breaking away from Offaly opponent Hannah McMahon. Action from the recent Leinster Final. Photo: Declan Gilmore Photography
Longford ladies manager John Higgins was an interested spectator last Saturday in Ardagh when Roscommon defeated Offaly 0-13 to 1-7 in the qualifiers and little did he know he would be watching Longford’s eventual opponents in the All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final this Saturday at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Longford ladies manager John Higgins was an interested spectator last Saturday in Ardagh when Roscommon defeated Offaly 0-13 to 1-7 in the qualifiers and little did he know he would be watching Longford’s eventual opponents in the All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final this Saturday at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Speaking to the Leader the Longford coach said: “We said we would scout what games we could. It’s fortunate the way the draw went. This will be the third time we will have played them; meeting twice in challenge games this year. Both teams know a lot about each other and they will have their homework done.”

Because of those challenge matches in recent months both counties know each other very well. Higgins has great respect for Roscommon and their management team.

“Roscommon have a good management team who have brought them on in the last couple of years and they are definitely going in the right direction. Slight advantage is that they played a game on Saturday. We will have to produce the same form we did against Offaly in the Leinster final. It’s vital that we get things right.”

Although Longford go into this game as provincial winners, Higgins knows at this stage of the championship there is nothing between the eight sides left in the race for the All-Ireland title.

“Anybody can beat anyone at this stage it doesn’t matter who we got or didn’t get. Now that we are at this stage we know we have to perform. If we do that we are in with a great chance.”

Longford have a few injury concerns ahead of the big game on Saturday next and Higgins admitted they will give those players every opportunity to be fit to face Roscommon.

“There are a few major concerns and we will wait until Thursday/Friday before we make a final call on our starting team. We had girls missing for the Offaly game and others came in and did well. The strong panel that we have means that we have girls there who can step up to the mark. We have competition at training and it’s adding that bit of spark. The camp is a good place to be at the moment.”

Looking ahead to the game Higgins is confident that if his side produce the performance that they are capable of then they can book their place in the All-Ireland semi-final.

“We will give it our all and hopefully our name will be going into the drum for the semi-final draw. But we have to get our performance right. We will approach the game positively and hopefully we will be good enough to get through to the last four.”

The Longford line-out in their 2-14 to 2-5 win over Offaly in the recent Leinster Final:

Michelle Kilkenny (Dromard); Mairead Moore (Clonguish), Geraldine McManus (Ballymahon/Forgney), Michelle Noonan (Carrickedmond); Claire Farrell (Longford Slashers), Sinead Farrell (Rathcline, 0-1), Orla Noonan (St. Helen’s); Siobhan McGowan (Clonguish), Gemma Kenny (Mostrim, 0-1), Emer Heaney (Ballymore, 0-1, f), Anne Marie Bratten (Killoe), Anna McDonnell (Killoe); Emma Farrelly (St. Helen’s, 1-1), Michelle Farrell (Colmcille, 1-4, 1f), Aisling Reynolds (Ballymore, 0-6, 5f).

Subs:- Aoife Darcy (Clonguish) for E Farrelly (41 mins); Louise Monaghan (Mostrim) for C Farrell (49 mins); Aibhe McGowan (Clonguish) for A Reynolds (56 mins); Aisling Greene (Clonguish) for E Heaney (57 mins); Caitriona Moore (Clonguish) for M Noonan (60 mins).