Louth manager Darren Bishop. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Leitrim will present Louth ladies with a challenge of the unknown when they clash in Cloone on Sunday afternoon (2pm).
Darren Bishop’s team face the Connacht girls - who boast a win and a loss from two outings, having accounted for Derry and succumbed to Antrim - seeking to secure a second victory of the campaign.
An 8-26 to three-point triumph at home to Kilkenny gave the Cremartin man the opportunity to experiment and give recent additions to the panel an opportunity to impress, following the narrow, round one defeat to Limerick, which the manager admits stung both himself and his squad.
“If it didn’t hurt you you shouldn’t really be involved in football.”
Foxrock-Cabinteely defender Sarah Quinn was one of those to get gametime in Stabannon, the full-back returning to Wee County duty after a several-year absence. Indeed, with Leitrim appearing to possess a goal-scoring touch, her role could be crucial this weekend.
“We’ll be looking out for not conceding goals - or slack goals as we did in Limerick, after half-time, which cost us dearly,” Bishop said.
“They beat Derry in the first round of the league and notched up 3-3. Obviously goals is something that we’re going to have to watch out for, as with some of the other counties.
“But, as I said to the girls before, Leitrim are certainly going to have to watch out for certain players that we have.”
He added: “We look at Leitrim last year and everything sort of fell asunder on them. Players decided to step away from it and it’s unfortunate for any county football team, but it definitely brings that bit of the unknown to them this year.
“We’re just not that sure of every single player that they might have available to them at this moment in time. They will be playing intermediate championship football and that again brings a different element because you’re expecting them to be a high-quality team.”
Nevertheless, the Louth boss is happy with the situation his own side find themselves in. Indeed, he reckons his biggest challenge will relate to keeping every squad member happy, such is the ferocious competition for places.
“Probably the hardest thing that I will have to do is to keep everybody happy within the camp; that everyone is buying into the one idea, the one goal and moving in the one direction because it’s extremely competitive for positions at the moment.
“It’s a fantastic thing to have within your county, that you have that quality and that ability, but it’s going to be a tough job to choose the best 15, or 18 or 19 on a gameday.”
Reigning TG4 LGFA Junior Player of the Year Kate Flood will captain the county for the season.
Interestingly, Louth selector Brigid Russell - mother of half-back/forward Aoife (Glen Emmets) - is a native of Leitrim.