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TG4 Connacht Ladies Intermediate Championship Final   19/06/2018



TG4 Connacht Ladies Intermediate Final Preview

Sunday 24th June 2pm

Elverys McHale Park Castlebar

The Connacht Ladies Intermediate Football final will have a fresh look about it on June the 24th when Sligo and Roscommon clash in the Provincial decider.

Normally you would expect Sligo to start as favourites after winning the last two championships at this grade in Connacht. Add into the equation that Leitrim (their big rival in the Connacht Intermediate ranks) are not in the competition this year then surely most experts would be backing the Yates ladies to complete the much coveted three in a row. However there seems to be genuine cause for optimism in the Roscommon camp entering the 2018 championship. Manager Michael Finneran is entering into his second championship campaign and the former Roscommon midfielder is quietly confident that his side will be a force in the Connacht final and hopefully beyond.

Roscommon operated in a division lower than Sligo in the National League, and although they failed to secure promotion from Division three, the Roscommon manager described it as a mixed bag. One of the big factors that he noticed was that his squad are still a little short when it comes to squad numbers, especially when the side are hit with injuries. However, he now has a settled team going into the Provincial final which is ideal territory for any manager.

Although it’s been widely reported that Sligo are a team in transition in 2018 the Roscommon manager is still very weary of the challenge they will pose. Sligo ended Roscommon’s involvement in the All Ireland series last year and in the process gained revenge for an earlier defeat that the Primrose and Blue inflicted on them in the Connacht Championship. When attempting to predict the outcome of this year’s match Finneran is expecting a “tough encounter” as Roscommon look to make a big breakthrough with this current batch of players.

The Sligo manager Paddy Henry had to navigate his way through the choppy waters of Division two of the National football league without many players that had served the defending champions with so much distinction and pride over a long number of years. Without that experienced core of the team Sligo were eventually relegated. Despite going back down to Division Three it’s not all doom and gloom as Henry had the opportunity to run the rule over some exciting new talent that has now taken up the challenge to represent Sligo in the present.

Henry is wisely playing down his sides chances against Roscommon. Compared to previous years Sligo are completely focused on the Connacht final and trying to secure the three in a row. Narrow and heart-breaking defats in the All Ireland series has left all involved wondering what might have been, but life moves on and with a new structure in place Henry is eagerly looking forward to another championship adventure.

The aforementioned new players have made an impact and he expects them to improve with each match they will play in and especially in the championship. Henry still has some experience in the team including team captain Noelle Gormley who is looking to put an injury troubled season behind her as she looks to guide the young players around her in what is surely going to be a challenging campaign.

St Croan’s Sinead Kenny will be lining out for Roscommon more than likely in defence when the championship will get underway later this month. This Roscommon team are anxious to win some silverware in 2018 and she make no secret of the collective ambition that is pushing them on to land the Provincial title in MacHale Park when they face Sligo on June 24th






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