Tommy Donohue believes his London side are on the verge of something special
London ladies start their All-Ireland campaign this Saturday, as they become the first women’s team to play at the new McGovern Park when Carlow visit.
Manager Tommy Donohue, who has a long-term involvement with ladies football here in London, as well as chairing the provincial Britain board, believes he has some of the best teams that have ever stepped foot inside the county.
“At this level the amount of quality we have in the squad, I’ve never seen that before in London,” he says. “This game is the crunch game of our group. Kilkenny and Lancashire are unlikely to beat Carlow so whoever wins this weekend will be the favourites to finish top.
“And that then makes all the difference when you go on to face the second placed team from the other group in the semi-final rather than the stronger team.”
Carlow have had a mixed bag of success of late, but turned it around with a win over Kilkenny in the Leinster final.
“If you asked me this time last year if we expect to beat Carlow, I would have said of course.
“Now we are still going to go out for the win, but they are probably the toughest opponents for us in our group.
“But if we play to our ability we have the beating of them. Ultimately the goal this year is to bring an All-Ireland trophy back to London. We have the players and they are all motivated.”
Tommy hopes that the occasion will stand to his players too.
“They are making history out there on Saturday by becoming the first ever ladies team to play there. “I played for my county when London first opened Ruislip and welcomed the Cork team over.
“Now 39 years later I am here managing a team. When we meet up during the week I will tell them how much that meant to me as a player.
“If they enjoy that occasion then it can only be a good thing. I like making history and I think we should make more of a big deal of our history here in London sometimes.
“I hope we can get good support out there on Saturday. And I promise anyone who shows up that they will see some absolutely brilliant football.”
Tommy isn’t without selection issues however, as his squad of 28 consist of 18 attacking players.
“It is quite unusual, but they are phenomenally good players. If someone says they can only play a forward well they’re only giving themselves six options. If you say you’ll play anywhere then that moves up to 15.
“A player should want to represent their county no matter where they play. It’s the same grass and the same ball, you should just want the jersey. But they are a motivated group of girls and you want your best players on the pitch.”