PEIL magazine

Winter 2012

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Page 49 of 71

2013 - A PREVIEW "There has never been a question about what I'm doing, never a complaint, never a suggestion that I should do something different. They accept that you're doing your best and respond. To be fair, you would be trying to keep it fresh, but over nine years you would repeat a drill or a small-sided game. If you meet 80 times a year over nine years, there has to be repetition. Then, it depends on the intensity of the session." IEW FROM V 2013 – A SS BOX THE PRE With many teams already thinking about the 2013 season, LGFA Correspondent Jackie Cahill looks ahead to what has the potential to be another very interesting race to the top! I t's become an annual question now – just who can stop Cork in the race for the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship? The news that Eamonn Ryan wishes to remain at the helm for another season with the all-conquering Rebelettes is good news for them, but an ominous development for the chasing pack. This is because Ryan has the uncanny knack of being able to keep a squad so accustomed to success, motivated and hungry for fresh challenges. But Ryan insists that there's no great secret behind a remarkable period of success for the Leesiders, with seven All-Ireland titles collected in the last eight seasons. Ryan's first championship game was against Kerry in 2004. They trailed by 14 points at half-time and lost by eight. A year later, they won the first of those seven All-Ireland crowns and haven't looked back since. In that time, there has been just one championship defeat, against Tyrone in the 2010 quarter-final in Banagher. Ryan reflected: "I was just thinking how we could improve game by game and if there was a good training environment, I hoped they would respond. That was the biggest factor – we've gelled as a group at training. Eamonn Ryan during the final moments of the game. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Gaelic Football Senior Championship Final 2012 48 "But again, if the environment is player friendly, and if the players can see that something they do for themselves isn't a sacrifice, I don't see it as that great big a deal. Nobody forces a player to come training. If the players come and find the atmosphere pleasing and the training is ok, there shouldn't be any great sacrifice. After all, they're doing what they love. The sacrifice comes in their off the field life. Our girls would be very good and when a lot of them are involved in studying, they look after their training. Consequently, their social life has to suffer but who are they doing it for only themselves? It comes back to the question – if they're doing it for themselves, is it a sacrifice? I'd acknowledge what they've done but they've done it for themselves and the girls seem to have a similar mindset to myself." Seems simple enough doesn't it? Create an environment in which players can flourish, encourage them to become responsible for their application on and off the pitch, and reap the rewards. Except that it's far more complex than that. And Cork just do it better than anybody. They've never lost an All-Ireland Final under Ryan's watch, but a host of teams will queue up next year, harbouring realistic ambitions of toppling the 'blood and bandage.' Cork will start the season as reigning TG4 Munster and All-Ireland Champions, Dublin are hoping to defend their Leinster crown, beaten 2012 All-Ireland finalists Monaghan will look to strengthen their grip on the Ulster crown and Galway rule the roost in Connacht. A word on Galway, incidentally. Their journey to this year's All-Ireland Semi-Final, where Kerry beat them, was a noteworthy achievement. The Tribeswomen lost heavily in the Bord Gáis Energy Division 2 National League final against Mayo but recovered to beat their ancient rivals in the provincial decider. Mayo will want revenge in Connacht and that anticipated championship meeting should be one to savour. Mayo, too, feel that they will have a big say in championship 2013. Carnacon's march to another All-Ireland club final was achieved with a host of county stars, including arguably the game's greatest ever player, forward Cora Staunton. In Leinster, Dublin will look to put a degree of turmoil behind them as they chart a course forward. At the time of going to press, 2013 management was yet to be confirmed, so a rocky start can be expected in the Capital. Elsewhere in the Eastern province, beaten 2012 finalists Meath will look to build on their steady progress and Westmeath too will hope to improve. Westmeath have jumped from Division 4 to Division 2 of the Bord Gáis Energy National Football League in the past two seasons and it will be interesting to see how they cope with second tier League fare.

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