Due to their Round 1 fixture against Armagh being postponed last weekend Longford ladies will begin their National League Division 3 campaign this Sunday with a home game against Sligo.
New manager John Higgins has gone about putting together a panel of players and can’t wait for the season to get underway. “The panel is coming together nicely. A lot of young players have come in. They are training hard and I’m looking forward to getting the season off to a start properly. We have Sligo and then Leitrim so two tough games to start with. We are hoping to get a positive result out of both,” he told the Leader.
Due to the unavailability of a number of players Longford won’t have their strongest panel for a number of weeks: “There are a lot of new faces. We have a couple of girls out and another few injured. It will be a couple of weeks before we have our full panel to choose from. What’s there at the moment are more than capable and we have a strong panel,” said Higgins.
With the current All-Ireland Junior Champions Offaly, runners-up Wexford and All-Ireland Intermediate finalists Tipperary all in Longford’s Division, Higgins knows it’s going to be competitive: “It’s going to be a tough campaign. The way the fixtures went for us we have five away games, three away games in a row at the end. It’s going to be a very competitive league. We’ll be positive that with the talent there we can push on and do something.”
The Longford boss has no real targets for the campaign. It’s a case of one game at a time and taking it from there: “We are taking each game as it comes; a step by step process with high hopes. The panel is strong and we want to utilise it. We want to push on and win as many games as we can in the league and build from there. Get a bit of momentum going.”
Last year was one of heartbreak for Longford with decisions going against them both in the league and championship. Higgins believes the hurt felt by the girls last year can drive them on this season: “Luck went against them last year and they want to make amends. They think they are good enough to win an All-Ireland and we firmly believe that too. You can see that in the way they are training and leading things already from this early stage. They want to finish the year on a high.”
Higgins is only in the job a few months but the former Moydow Harpers manager is enjoying being the Longford ladies supremo.. He admits that it is a challenge but has a good team around him: “It’s great and it is a big challenge. Everything is going well. The lads that are involved with me are fantastic. I would be keen to emphasise that it’s more of a ‘management team’ than one individual.”