The preparations have been underway for months and now Longford ladies manager Diane O’Hora can’t wait for the football to begin when they take on London in the first round of the Leinster Championship this Saturday in Killoe.
“We’re really excited about it,” she told the Leader. “The first round of the championship is what you train for all year. We learned so much the whole way through the league. It has been fantastic for us. It’s going to a tough team to pick.”
The league campaign also helped the ladies form a strong bond: “There is such a spirit about this group. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a credit to their families, culture, clubs and communities. They are so good and look after each other so well.”
Very little is known about London but O’Hora admitted that she has her homework done on the Exiles: “I find sources in random places,” she joked. “I was at the Parnell’s match last year; they won the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship. I would know their manager. He is very good manager and very strategic.”
The make-up of the All-Ireland series has changed this year with the provincial winners going straight into the quarter finals. The Mayo woman is happy they’ve gone back to basics: “It’s gone back to the old fashioned traditional way. We have three Intermediate teams in each province so it makes perfect sense to run it off in provincial championships. Last year we had game after game and we were pretty tired when we came up against Armagh in the All-Ireland semi-final.”
As well as London, Wicklow are also in the Leinster Championship and they play Longford on the weekend of July 7. “We really do need the win against London. We will really have to work hard the whole way through. We have an idea of how they’ll play but our focus is going to be on our game. We have learned so much along the league. The fact that it is round-robin, that’s great but we want to go the whole way; the direct route.”
Both of Longford’s games are at home, something that pleases the Longford boss. “We are so thrilled with the way the draw has worked out for us. We really hope that everyone in Longford gets behind us. We really need the support. The girls need the support for the effort they put in. they are so thankful and grateful for people to come out and support them. It’s nothing but a credit to Longford people the way they support their soccer, men’s football and hurlers. Please God we’ll be able to drum up the same support.”