Tipperary Ladies Football manager, Declan Carr
Recently Jeddy Walsh caught up with Declan Carr to discuss the prospects for the Tipperary Ladies Footballers in their upcoming championship games against Cork (Saturday) and Meath (next Friday).
This year’s National League for the Tipperary Ladies Footballers proved a very disappointing affair, ultimately ending in relegation, just as it had for their fellow county male counterparts.
The ladies suffered defeats against Cork, Waterford and Dublin, before finally losing a relegation play-off to Westmeath condeming them to Division 2 for next year.
There is now a massive job in hand for the Premier County as they endeavour to put those setbacks behind them and get ready for the championship, which begins for them on Saturday next July 17 against Cork in Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary. In their three-team group, Tipp will have their second game the following Friday against Meath, a greatly improving side who recently won the Division 2 League final.
It has been somewhat of a baptism of fire for new Tipperary team manager Declan Carr, who only took over the job at the start of the year. While under no illusions of the task ahead of him in taking up the manager’s appointment, Carr now has a significant challenge ahead in trying to turn the disappointment of the league into a positive year for his charges.
Speaking before a recent training session at Cahir, the Tipp manager said:
“I wouldn’t have expected anything less with this job, the standard is high and has been for a good few years as the game is taken very seriously. I wasn’t coming in thinking it was going to be a quiet entry or an easy one, it is certainly living up to the expectations I had of it. There’s certainly challenges ahead and we will have to meet them head on.”
In any sports management role you have to be a glass-half-full person all the time, searching for the positives, even in the face of adversity.
“Going from being an excellent intermediate team to being in the top echelons of senior football is a huge jump and adjusting to that can be difficult. You have less time on the ball, things are just running at a quicker pace and it’s a matter of adjusting to that and finding out what are the keys to unlocking that. But certainly, I have no doubt that this group of girls can get there whatever length of time it takes. They have the appetite, and they certainly have the commitment for it,” said the 1991 All-Ireland senior hurling winning captain.
Despite losing the opening game against Cork, the Tipp manager was “quite pleased” with the performance in Páirc Uí Chaoimh that night. It was the defeat to Waterford, of the four Lidl League games, that concerned him most.
“The Waterford game was a disappointing game and while all losses are disappointing some are easier to stomach. We started brightly, looked like we were in control after five minutes but we certainly gave away the ground very easily and let in one or two soft goals. But Waterford proved to be a very good team,” he added.
“Believe it or not the Dublin performance is the one I was most pleased with because you know adversity was thrown at us straight away in terms of Aishling (Moloney) and Emma (Morrissey) after I think 90 seconds and two minutes, two key forwards. What gave me great pleasure and greater satisfaction was that we could hold Dublin to two goals, that was really heartening on a difficult night. And also the way and the manner in which we actually never gave up and even the subs that we rolled onto the pitch did their bit when they came in. So for me, I actually took great heart out of that performance,” added Carr.
Before they come up against Cork again, the Tipp manager knows what the key focus has to be for his side, the tidying up of conceding turnovers especially unforced turnovers.
“We really need to tidy up the unforced errors. We have great movement with the ball but then it breaks down, maybe on the last pass, and then we’re out of position to defend. So you’re really on the back foot then, not alone have you lost the ball in a key area, but then you are out of position from a defence point of view. So it’s just something we will work on and we will. We always look at the optimistic side of things,” said the Holycross Ballycahill clubman.
The injury situation isn’t hectic at the moment with both Aishling Moloney and Emma Morrissey unlikely to be available for the Cork game at least.
“I think to be realistic about it I certainly don’t see them back for the Cork game. I think it’s a case now for the other girls to step up and take that responsibility. The other girls will have to soldier on now and make the best of it. Aisling McCarthy is coming back from an injury too and actually it is great to see her here doing a bit of light training and maybe there is a slim possibility on that one, I wouldn’t write it off just yet,” he added.
“We certainly know what’s coming with Cork, having played them in the league. They are the second best if not the best team in the country from a ball-handling point of view. Hopefully Cork might be in a mindset that a wounded Tipperary might not themselves be in the right frame of mind, but I can tell you that we will certainly be approaching the game at a hundred miles an hour,” added Carr.
The other team in the group are Meath, who operated in Division 2 of the league this year. While they may be seen as a lesser strength than Cork, Declan Carr certainly appreciates that the Royalettes will be no soft touch for his side.
Last weekend Cork were put to the pin of their collar to get the better of Meath by 1-9 to 0-10. That scoreline in itself is indicative of where Meath are as a force now.
“I have watched some of their league games online and they are definitely a team that has progressed well. I wouldn’t compare them now to the team of two years ago. I would say they’ve developed very well. We will go in thinking to ourselves that yes we beat them in the past but they’ve caused us problems too, they’ve beaten us as well. It’s been over and back a bit. We are good enough on a given day, but I wouldn’t be going into that game foolhardily” cautioned the Tipp boss.
Regarding the spirit in the camp in the build-up:
“There was a lot of disappointment in being relegated and we took a few days off after the Westmeath game. And they were still a bit down the first night back. But you know time is a great healer. As I would expect they are back in the right frame of mind now, and we are 100% ready to give it a lash,” concluded the Tipperary manager.
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