Curran will demand more from Donegal ladies

By Paddy Hunter

Ladies Football National

League Division one

Donegal v Galway

Sunday, Letterkenny, 12 noon

Donegal left it late last weekend against Waterford, but an Emma McCroary goal sealed a much-needed win for the Ulster champions over a Waterford side that had pressed Maxi Curran’s side to the pin of their collar.

Life will get no easier for Curran and Donegal on Sunday as they face Galway.

The Tribeswomen, like Donegal lost their opening weekend fixture but got their campaign up and running last week as Roisin Leonard hit a hat-trick of goals in a comprehensive victory over Westmeath.

Waterford had beaten Tim Rabbitt’s side in week one. Donegal beat them last week after their loss to Mayo so take from those results what you will.

One man demanding more will be Curran.

He was far from happy at the way the game went against Mayo and indeed Saturday’s game was also going in the wrong direction until that late goal from Mc Croary.

It had been a dramatic climax, Caroline Sharkey’s goal had given Donegal the initiative before Katie Murray looked to have stolen the win for the home side with her goal two minutes from the end.  

It wasn’t to be for Waterford, who were unable to add to last week’s win over Galway.

The way the last ten minutes played out, we were very unfortunate to concede the goal we did,” said Curran who had also had a player sin binned in the latter stages.

There was a wee sense of wrong for our girls but they put that right in the last couple of minutes. We deserved a wee bit of luck at the end and thankfully we got it because I don’t think we got very much last week. We’re just delighted to get the win.”

Galway and manager Rabbitt didn’t have much in the way of difficulty against the Midlanders.

Two goals in the space of a minute in the early action with Leonard and Sarah Conneally on target had them in the box seat.

It was one way traffic from then on and the manager was delighted.

Rabbitt said: “We didn’t really bring a lot of intensity last week but we really brought it today. The attitude was way better. We’ve been working really hard over the last five or six weeks, so it was disappointing last week because we fell into that trap of casualness.

We wanted to improve our intensity and performance, and that paid off for us today. We face a tough outing against Donegal.”

A massive home game for Donegal and Curran would like to see another win to hoist his side up the table but he’s the first to admit it’s very early days.

Curran said: “It’s Winter football and we haven’t really a lot of work done. Look, we had a tough battle in Mayo, got the rub of the green last week and I suppose it’s swings and roundabouts. We got a wee bit of luck but what was particularly pleasing was the response from the girls against Waterford. Our experienced girls played a big part. Caroline Sharkey hit the crossbar and we had other chances.

If we had have lost this one we would have been in a relegation battle now we can build on this,” Curran said.

There’s still room for improvement for Donegal then as they welcome Galway to Letterkenny.

Curran said: “We have a few things that would concern us. Waterford were able to turn us over a couple of times from our own kick out which had been going well after we had worked on them last week.

We were able to get the balls transitioning through the middle, but on two occasions we were caught. They got a goal and a point from those. We have to look at that.

We have a serious battle on our hands this week. Galway come to Letterkenny in a big double header a big occasion for the girls and everyone involved in ladies football in Donegal but how we played against Waterford would not be good enough against a team with Galway’s experience. We have to learn fast. The games are coming thick and fast and that’s the way we like it.”

Ladies Football National

League Division three

Sligo v Down

Sunday, 2pm

Down are enjoying their football. They are third in division three on score difference after back-to-back wins.

They will head to Sligo this weekend very much with the mindset that it will be three from three.

They have reason to be confident as they have scored 6-18 in their opening two games, three of those goals coming last weekend.

Six points was the margin last Sunday as Down beat Fermanagh who sit bottom of the table while this week’s hosts lost to Kildare and also remain pointless in the third division.

The Yeats county are going through transition. The championship will see them become a different animal but for now they just need a couple of results to get away from the drop zone.

Natasha Ferris and Aoife Lavery were among the Down scorers last week and they will once again lead the line on Sunday.  


Ladies Football National

League Division three

Fermanagh v Roscommon

Sunday, 1pm

Life in division three is proving difficult so far for Jonny Garrity’s Fermanagh.

Two outings and two losses is their record, but that’s not a fair reflection of the Erne girls.

They suffered a heavy loss to joint league leaders Kildare on the opening weekend but in an improved display last week they conceded three goals away at Down.

There is a new look to this Fermanagh squad as players are settling into their roles and Garrity admits it will take time but they face a massive examination on Sunday as they welcome the third of the joint leaders Roscommon.

It would look as if they get over this weekend without too much damage they can regroup and refocus for the teams away from the title shake down and get some points on the board.


Ladies Football National

League Division four

Leitrim v Antrim

Sunday, 2pm

Antrim find themselves bottom of the table. They have been slow starters with a loss to Offaly and last Sunday to All Ireland junior champions Louth so far. It has been a frustrating start for Dee McConville.

Louth led 1-9 to 0-1 at the break after Aine Tubridy had picked up a yellow card.

McConville’s side showed some improvement after the break but further goals from Boyle and substitute Aimee McNally ensured that Louth would run out with a bit to spare at the end.

Hugh Donnelly is in charge of Leitrim now. His side hammered Derry on the opening weekend but they didn’t play last week and he is eager they hit the ground running again this weekend.

They have enjoyed a decent pre-season and after a year of uncertainty from them they seem to be out in big numbers again, yet the Saffs have players back and will see this game as one that could well kick start their season.


Ladies Football National

League Division four

Derry V Offaly

Sunday, 2pm

It has been a tough start for Derry, but with a team full of youngsters it was always going to be.

They have shipped 10-30 in two games , as Leitrim and Limerick both hit five goals apiece.

It will take this new look Oakleaf side time to get into gear, and up to speed in the world of division four football.

Promotion had been a target set last year but a culmination of things scuppered their league campaign. This year it’s about getting this group of players working together and cohesive ahead of the Ulster and all Ireland series.

Offaly drew with Carlow at the weekend. They sit second in the table and will be very difficult to beat this Sunday. Home advantage will aid Derry and they will need every bit of help.

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