A superb second-half performance by the Tipperary ladies football team secured a vital win over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening last to register their opening win in division one of the Lidl National Ladies Football League.
Cork, who are one of the favourites to win the All-Ireland title this season, led by six points at the half-way stage but were reeled in by Tipperary in the closing stages when 16-year-old debutant Caitlin Kennedy showed composure beyond her years, to blast past Martina O’Brien to secure a memorable win.
POINT TO PROVE
Ardfinnan’s Samantha Lambert captains the side this year for the third successive season and in speaking to The Avondhu this week, said that the win over Cork was vital to the team.
“Coming off the back of last year’s season, that didn’t go to plan, was extremely disappointing for everyone involved. So we’ve a point to prove this year. We won’t be getting carried away about Saturday’s win, but it was so important for us as a group of girls to perform and to get the result that we needed badly to instil that sense of belief again that we do belong up in the senior ranks and we do belong in division one. The girls will get confidence from this and sometimes belief and confidence is all you need.”
Disappointed with the first-half performance, Lambert admits that her side were fearful of Cork and allowed them to control the game.
“Going back out in the second half six points down we knew we’d nothing to lose, we played without fear and performed incredibly at times. The second half performance was full of heart and determination and we cut back the amount of mistakes we had made in the first-half.
“This team has always had a never say die attitude. The spell at the beginning of the second-half when Aisling got the goal and Caitlin pointed was an extremely important spell for us and really set us up for the end of the game. We knew we had the potential to win, especially if we were within a few points of Cork at the end of the game, so the girls getting those scores was the ideal situation for us and really drove us on.
“Everyone was frustrated with how the first half went and I suppose Shane was disappointed with us too as we had focused on getting a good start and not conceding. He spoke to us about believing in ourselves and our own performance and if we did that the result would look after itself.
“I suppose we listened and that’s exactly what we did in the second half, each player wanted the ball and believed we could win,” she said.
Next up for Shane Ronayne’s side is Donegal (away – March 2nd-3rd) before facing Galway (home – March 16th-17th), Monaghan (home – March 23rd-24th) and Westmeath (away – April 6th-7th).
Ahead of the Donegal test, Lambert believes Tipp must focus on themselves and eliminating errors from their game.
“Donegal are a phenomenal team and are going extremely well in the league with three wins out of three, so we’ll have to perform in order to compete with them. Our focus will be to work on our mistakes and make use of possession we have wisely.”