The vastly experienced former Mayo player, who won four senior All-Ireland medals and who has coached teams in Down, Meath and Longford, as well as a number of club teams, says that she will be concentrating on unearthing new talent in a number of trials prior to the start of the National League season in May. She oversaw Roscommon’s first training session on Monday night last.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there has obviously been little to no underage football during the past eighteen months, and this will no doubt make her job more difficult.
“The fact that there has been no minor football for two years effectively means that we have no way of looking at the players that are coming through, and the minors this year are concentrating on their Leaving Cert, which is very understandable,” she said.
“We are going to run trials over the next month or so. We intend to look at over fifty players and will then have to try and get that number down one way or another. But it’s difficult with all the regulations, and we will have to stagger the trials”.
Diane says she has enlisted the help of a number of coaches in order to hold trials.
“I am bringing in a lot of extra coaches, people who would have no vested interest in any player. They are just in to help me out, and I have got a great response in that regard. It’s great to have fresh eyes looking at players,” she added.
The Ballina native says that she has received excellent support from the County Board, since her appointment: “Everyone has been brilliant, I have to say, and people like Declan and Michelle Walsh have been a great help to me”.
Diane is under no illusions however, and says the target of gaining promotion in the league will be difficult to achieve.
“The fact that we cannot play any challenge matches will make it difficult, but those are the rules, and we understand that. It will be difficult to try and get the girls to adopt a certain style of play without challenge games, so we have a lot of work to do. But we can’t do too much, we are allowed three sessions a week and that’s it,” she said.
This is a tough challenge, but one that that Diane is very much looking forward to.
“I can’t wait to get started to be honest. You get used to being without football, but when it starts again, you get energised. Having been sitting at home and not being able to do anything for the past few months, it’s great to be able to get up now and go and do something about it.
“I’ve been very lucky with the management team that I have around me, and I like the balance of the personalities. All the management team were involved in the recent 100K fundraiser (for Roscommon LGFA), and that was a great way to get the year started.
“I have to say that I am really looking forward to the year ahead – hopefully we will give the people something to shout about as the year goes on,” she concluded.
Roscommon will play in Division Three of the Lidl Ladies National Football League, and will open their campaign against Fermanagh on May 23rd at home. There will be further games against Down on May 30th, and Sligo on June 6th.