O’Hora ready for Fermanagh challenge 

Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 3A (Round 1): Roscommon v Fermanagh at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday at 2 pm

A new era begins for the Roscommon Ladies football team at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday when former Mayo All-Ireland winner Diane O’Hora takes over as manager for the league opener against Fermanagh. The aims remain the same as have been the case in recent years, namely promotion from this division and a tilt at the All-Ireland Intermediate championship.

  The Ballina woman has overseen a busy training regime since the resumption of activity on April 19th and the management team will have a tough job reducing the panel for the championship as there are currently 35 players on the extended panel. Sinéad Kenny will once again be the team captain with Natalie McHugh named as vice-captain.

  “I have been very happy with the way things have gone since training resumed. There has been great intensity among the group because there is big competition for places. We have an extended panel of 35 at the moment and all the girls want to get into the top 30,” Diane told People Sport on Monday.

  In terms of injuries, Diane said: “Sinead Lennon is out for a few weeks and she is a big loss but after that there are just a few niggly injuries”.

  The Roscommon manager is cautious ahead of Sunday’s game with Fermanagh. 

  “Remember that they won the Junior All-Ireland last year so they will be a dangerous team. I came up against them when I was involved with Down and they will be young, fit and fast. One thing about them is that they score a lot of goals so we will have to be on our guard against that,” she said. 

  “It’s great to be in Dr. Hyde Park. I’m following in the footsteps of another Ballina person who managed Roscommon, Kevin McStay, who had some great days there. To lead Roscommon out at the Hyde is fantastic. 

  “We want to get off to a good start on Sunday. Since training resumed we have had loads of trials. We didn’t play any challenge games and that was my decision. I wanted to see where we were at ourselves,” she added. 

  Promotion in the league and progression in the championship are the clear priorities for Diane and her charges. 

  “Our first game is at home, and we really need to see good intensity and focus to set us up for the rest of the year. It’s going to be a challenge, but one I am looking forward to”.

  This Roscommon team made great strides under Michael Finneran over the past number of seasons and have become a force to be reckoned with. Now, it’s time for the team to take the next step and it would be more than a mild surprise if the new era was not to start with a win on Sunday.

Prediction: Roscommon