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Becky Mahon scores for Kilmihil past Emery’s Hanrahan. Photography by Eugene McCafferty Kilmihil 3-08 Doora Barefield 1-06

Callinan aiming to build for the future with Kilmihil

Despite Kilmihil playing in their fifth final in six years, manager Kevin Callinan insists his side are focused on producing players for the future.
“We would have a small pick but we try and build for the future. This year was a time to rebuild for us so to get to the county final is great and will only improve the players’ development.”
Kilmihil won four out of their five round robin games with their only defeat coming to Banner Ladies with both sides already qualified for the knockout stages. They continue to be without the Considine sisters – Eimear and Ailish, who are both forging successful careers in the AFLW and rugby respectively while Edel McMahon (rugby) will not feature. Carol O’Leary and Jenny Kelly are unavailable.
Callinan admits it is not easy to produce players in an area as small as Kilmihil but he is happy with the continued progress being made at underage.
“There is unbelievable work going on at underage. We might have to play 11 or 12 aside at U14 level for example but there always seems to be quality players coming through. We have a habit of producing people who want to play and wear the jersey. The older players stay at the helm and they are leaders for the younger girls coming through.”
He praises the commitment of the current crop of players who played on five successive weekends in the round robin phase.
“We ould have 26, 27 or even 28 girls at training nearly all the time. The only time you wouldn’t is if there are a few doing exams or work commitments. They want to be involved and are always trying to improve. That’s what makes the club so special.”
The Kilmihil manager does not make excuses as his side will be underdogs against a Banner side who are aiming for their 12 county title in 14 years. They will aim to lower the Banner flag again after beating their much vaunted opponents in the decider two years ago.
“It is hard to compare anyone to them. They have experience and quality to burn. You have to hand it to them they are very well organised and coached. We are all trying our best to compete. They will have a bigger pick than us but you can’t make excuses. The fact of the matter is you have to get on with it and try get the best performance you can out of your team.”
After impressing in the group stages, Kilmihil required extra time to overcome a stubborn St. Joseph’s Doora-Barefield outfit. Callinan insists that his side will need to be more ruthless closing out games as he hopes they take lessons from the victory.
“They caught us at the death with a goal which we shouldn’t have allowed to happen. It’s part of the learning curve so we need to build for the future whether that is this Sunday or a year from now. We need to keep building.”

by Ivan Smyth

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