GAA Football

Club scheduling had no impact on final preparation says Tyrone ladies' manager Gerry Moane

A dejected Niamh O'Neill, left, and Aine Canavan of Tyrone after the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Final match between Tipperary and Tyrone at Croke Park
Andy Watters

CONTROVERSY over the scheduling of club fixtures had no impact on the Tyrone Ladies’ preparations for Sunday’s All-Ireland Intermediate final says manager Gerry Moane.

Speaking after his side’s three-point defeat to Tipperary on Sunday, Moane admitted that the county board’s decision to schedule men’s senior championship games, including the Errigal Ciaran versus Carrickmore quarter-final, had been “a bit of a setback”.

But he added: “There are big strides going on in Tyrone”.

“Yes, probably the fixtures was a bit of a setback, but there is a lot of good work being done in Tyrone in recent months to eradicate things like this.

“There’s pressure on the fixtures committee to get games played and we didn’t make an issue out of it within our group. It happens and it’s something that we can’t control.

“There is a bit of work to do but we’re not the only county in that situation – there’s a lot of other counties in the same situation.

“Yes, it would have been nice if those games had been moved, but that is out of our control.”

“It’s all about getting the proper recognition for ladies’ football and giving (the players) the space and facilities to do that and there is a lot of work going on at the minute. In the media it was viewed as a setback, but we just got on with the job at hand.”

After a bright start was undermined by poor finishing, Tyrone briefly had their noses in front in the first half against Tipperary, but they were always chasing the game after Aishling McCarthy found the back of their net.

“They ground us down,” said Moane.

“But you have to take your opportunities when you are presented with them. That was the difference out there, we didn’t execute (our chances) and it’s disappointing for the players because they know the effort they put in all year. I’m disappointed for them because they left it in the dressingroom, they left it in Garvaghy. They didn’t bring it to the biggest stage of all but some of them are young and they will learn.

“If this group stays together it will happen for them.”

Tyrone enjoyed a lot of possession, but they often found themselves outnumbered in the final third of the pitch against a defensive Tipp line-up that included three sweepers in the second half.

“I was disappointed we didn’t move them about enough,” said Moane.

“We talked for endless hours on the training pitch about how they were going to set up, we knew well how they would set up, but we didn’t stretch the play out and we didn’t use the wide-open spaces of Croke Park to our benefit.

“We played into their hands to a degree and that is inexperience, it’s not being fit to manage the game on the pitch because it’s very hard to manage it on the sideline.

“We talked about all that in the build-up but we didn’t execute it on the day and we have to learn from that - the players have to learn as a group and as individuals.”

Moane is confident that the Tyrone players will return next season wiser for Sunday’s experience. He didn’t foresee any retirements as he looks ahead to the 2018 campaign.

“I don’t have any fears about retirements, they’ll make their own minds up over the next number of weeks and months,” he said.

“But I can’t see many going. Niamh O’Neill is away to Stockholm for a placement as part of her degree, but that’s the only one. We have a very youthful side, they have started off on a project and they know that it takes a lot of effort.

“They have made a lot of sacrifices to get here and I’d expect them to be back next year.”

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