Leitrim must step up a level if they are to overcome formidible Waterford

Sharon Kerrigan, Aileen Maguire, Carla Le Guen, Caoimhe Canning, Emma Guckian and Roisin McHugh celebrate Leitrim's victory over Clare.
Leitrim Ladies are used to tackling big odds and there are few bigger than the obstacle posed by Waterford next Saturday in Limerick.

Leitrim Ladies are used to tackling big odds and there are few bigger than the obstacle posed by Waterford next Saturday in Limerick.

The TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Semi-Final in Limerick promises to be Leitrim’s biggest game of the year as they take on the Munster women with a place in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.

Waterford overwhelmed Sligo 1-15 to 0-8 in the first game in Birr and Leitrim manager Pat Costello knows that the Green & Gold are in for a tough test - “They totally blitzed Sligo, I think it was 15 points I heard somebody say. They are very physical, very strong, it is a big ask again but you have to be there to have a go at it.”

And Pat admitted that Leitrim have a lot of work to do - “We have an awful lot of work to do, that performance today, make no mistake about it, wouldn’t win an All-Ireland semi-final.”

To many, the tie will come down to how Waterford deal with the threat of Aine Tighe and it was very noticeable that the Deise players all stayed on to watch the action in Birr after their game and they will feel that stopping the Kiltubrid woman will stop Leitrim.

That is why Leitrim will need big performances from the likes of Dearbhaile Beirne, Anna Conlan, Sarah McLoughlin, Carla Le Guen and Deirdre Ward while Emma Guckian must be pushing hard for a place after impressiing as a sub against Clare.

If Leitrim can provide another threat, it will lift the pressure off Tighe and give her more room to make headway.

Leitrim also have decisions to make in defence where Clare created a lot of chances and Waterford have a more potent forward line, particularly with Sinead Ryan and Maria Delahunty so deadly.

Waterford will start as favourites and justifibly so and nobody is underestimating the size of the task facing the Green & Gold next Saturday in Limerick, the Munster women have been knocking on the door for years.

But Leitrim have upset the odds before and there is a drive and desire in this team to reach the Final and if they reproduce their Connacht Final showing, the fairytale journey may just continue.