Aidan Heron presents the Senior B Cup to St Joseph's captain Aine Heslin Picture: Willie Donnellan
You want to know why St Joseph’s are such a force in Ladies football in Leitrim? Just consider the words of their captain Aine Heslin, who barely minutes after shocking Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins to win the Senior B title, was already setting her sights on champions Glencar Manorhamilton next Saturday.
“We weren’t taking today as anything other than a semi-final,” Aine told the Observer, “I know it is a Senior B Final but for us it is a stepping stone to next week. Every player wants to be competing for that top trophy, the highest competition in our county and we want that Cup back - that is what we’re competing for!”
Winning the Senior B title was a task in itself as Aine admits: “Serious. Other years we get to a semi-final and ourselves and Kiltubrid could be on one side and Ballinamore, Manorhamilton or St Francis could be on the other side and you get through to a final. But this year, if you want to get to the top of women’s senior football, you have to beat everybody and that is just the way it is.”
So despite regarding the game as a semi-final, you can understand why the St Joseph’s camp were so happy with their win over Ballinamore: “Ballinamore are a great team, they have great forwards and a great representation with the county so I knew whoever won here today, it was never going to be a convincing win.
“We said we just have to take our chances and if we came out with a one point win, we’d be happy to do that. We knew it would come right down to the wire because they are an unbelievable team and I’m sure they’d be saying the exact same thing about us.
“I know we were severe underdogs coming in here today but maybe the fact that there was no pressure on us today that is maybe why we went out and enjoyed our football, it helped definitely having no pressure.”
Saturday’s performance was easily St Joseph’s best of the campaign and Aine agreed that they wanted to make a point with their display: “We just wanted to go out and prove a point to ourselves here today. You could see it there today. We knew that if we got off to a good start and got those points on the board.
“Last week we got through a tough semi-final, we probably in the a long time haven’t found ourselves coming through, having the resilience of character to come out with a one point win but if we had to convert all we had missed last week, we would have been sailing through but we knew we had to take our chances today.”
Taking chances is a theme for St Joseph’s and the only blot on an otherwise superb performance was some poor shooting but Aine believes there is huge potential there: “We have one of the best forward lines in the county and if we just get every girl powering together, working off each other, we knew that’s when we really play our best football, when we’re enjoying it and just doing the quick passing inside and working together.”
Now it is just a case of getting ready for the Senior A Final next Saturday in Ballinamore against Glencar Manorhamilton: “We’ll be looking at recovery now and then getting back into training and getting our bodies and mindset right. The whole championship has just been week on, week on - it is tough going, you don’t have time to dwell on the weekend before and the mistakes that happened, you have to dust yourself down and get set for the next week.”
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