THE Limerick Ladies Footballers bid to finally end their league final hoodoo this Saturday.
Limerick play Antrim in the Lidl National Football League Division 4 final in Clane, Co Kildare at 2.00 in a final that will be live on TG4.
Limerick have never tasted league success – losing five finals since 2004.
Captain Dymphna O’Brien plays in her sixth league decider this Saturday.
In her 16th inter-county season the Limerick captain won’t want for motivation.
”Playing in a league final means that you get to keep the sponsors jersey afterwards and we were only saying in a team meeting that we have enough losers jerseys – we would like a winners medal,” said O’Brien this Wednesday.
”To win would be massive,” said the Ballyhahill star.
The Gerald Griffins forward made her Limerick debut at the of 14 but 16 years in the green of Limerick has returned just a 2001 Munster junior championship title and the 2010 All Ireland junior championship success.
O’Brien, a 2006 All Star, is in her first year as Limerick captain.
“The hurt of last year is driving us on,” said O’Brien, referencing the league final defeat to Offaly twelve months ago.
Prior to 2015 there have also been Division 4 league final defeats in 2012 (Longford) and 2010 (Leitrim). Division 3 deciders were lost in 2004 (Wexford) and 2008 (Cavan).
”We are due one,” she said of the league final heartbreak.
“We really need to get out of Division 4 again. We are definitely good enough to compete in Division 3 and we have actually played some Division 2 teams in challenge game,” said O’Brien, explaining that promotion is the prize on offer Saturday, as well as silverware.
A “massive effort” has brought Limerick to Saturday’s final, according to the captain.
“We have used Martinstown as our base for the whole year for training and matches. We started out on November 7 and have trained two times during the week and on Sunday morning,” she outlined.
For the captain the training base in the GAA grounds of Staker Wallace if a 50-minute drive from Ballyhahill.
”What is great is that the structure is very good now. In fairness to Eddie (manager) everyone is treated the same and he is very fair. Everything is very professional. In some years we would have had massive numbers at the start of the year and then there would be a drop off but we don’t have that this year,” said O’Brien of Cork native Eddie Murphy, who is in his second year at the helm.
JP Aherne and Conor Buckley are selector/coaches, while the remainder of the management team is Catherine Murphy (liasion officer), John Holland (medic) and Kevin Denihan (goalkeeping coach).
When Saturday’s finalists met in the round robin series, Limerick were 2-15 to 0-7 winners, but O’Brien insists focus won’t be an issue”.
“That game was in Staker Wallace and they were short about seven players so we will keep grounded. We put in a massive performance in the semi final against Wicklow and that is what we need again in the final,” said the top scorer.
“You don't know what can happen on any day but we just need to keep focused and be our best on the day,” stressed the captain.
LIMERICK PANEL: Martina Giltenane, Sarah O’Sullivan, Alva Neary, Olivia Giltenane, Megan O’Shea, Caroline Hickey, Cathy Mee, Niamh Richardson, Yvette Moynihan, Claire Coughlan, Stephanie Carroll, Kristine Reidy, Dymphna O’Brien, Loretta Hanley, Siobhan Moloney, Orla Moriarty, Niamh Holland, Louise Ryan, Orlaith O’Donoghue, Clodagh McGrath, Erica Fealey, Megan Kelleher, Rebecca Delee, Brid Flanagan, Margaret Ryan, Maeve Higgins, Janet Garvey, Emma McGuire, Aine McGrath, Cloda Kirby, Rosie Rea.