Saturday’s game with 2nd placed Wexford Youths ended in defeat, but there was a positive air around Turner's Cross after a performance that left the supporters in the ground, and caretaker manager jess Lawton, smiling.
“The girls pulled it out of the bag. They had an unsettling week, but they worked hard and executed everything we worked on perfectly” said an ebullient Lawton “I think they owed themselves that performance. I just got them to believe they have it in them. It was a loss, but we surprised Wexford, we came off the pitch feeling really positive. The support was brilliant, they really got behind us and they stayed on well after the game applauding the players off.”
Lawton is complimentary of every single player throughout the chat, unwilling to single anyone out, but Orlaith Deasy’s selection on the league team of the week forces her hand. “Orlaith was exceptional. We know she can play like that but to do it on her debut on her debut and make the League’s team of the week, it just goes to show that hard work can pay off.”
With Aisling Kelly making her debut against Athlone and Ellie O’Brien looking comfortable during her cameo against Wexford, Lawton admits young players are “knocking on the door”.
“It’s giving me a good headache going up to Sligo. Natalie [O’Brien] and Kate [O’Donovan] are available which is massive for us, but Christina Dring is out. Ellie O’Brien did brilliant and impacted the game when she came on. I have that advantage that I know all the players in the club and I know when they’re ready. Chloe [Atkinson] was on the bench, her debut isn’t far away.”
There’s been a lot of positivity following the performance, but no-one is getting carried away just yet. “Consistency is everything now though, we need to show that it wasn’t a fluke” says Lawton “I couldn’t be happier after just a week, but there’s more to come from these players. I want them to start believing in themselves. I said it in the dressing room before the Wexford game, I feel this team can match anyone. It wasn’t lip service, I do believe it, but before we win, we have to believe we can.”
“It’s all to play for in Sligo but we have to manage our match prep really closely. It’s an early start, we’re going to be travelling a long distance, adjust to breaking for meals at unusual times. But we’ll go up there with a positive attitude. We’ve worked on other aspects of our game this week and areas where we can improve further. The staff have bought into it, the players have bought into it. We believe we can move up the table.”