O'Kane wary of Smyth threat as Antrim target promotion
Antrim manager Sean O'Kane is acutely aware of the considerable threat that sharpshooter Eimear Smyth will pose to his side's chances of success when they meet Fermanagh in the Lidl Ladies National Football League Division Four final at Clones today (2.00).
Teenager Smyth, an A-Level student at Mount Lourdes, Enniskillen rocketed into the national spotlight when she scored 1-12 in Fermanagh's semi-final win over Limerick - this after they had been in arrears by 4-6 to 1-4 at half-time.
"There is no doubt that Eimear is a very good forward but she is not the only threat that we will face from this Fermanagh side," says O'Kane.
"They have other players who are very capable of posting scores and our defence will need to be on its toes."
Smyth's scoring feats have underpinned Fermanagh's progress to date and today the side will come up against an Antrim outfit which impressed in their 2-20 to 2-14 semi-final win over Louth.
Skipper Saoirse Tennyson points to the Antrim squad's enthusiasm and resilience as key qualities.
"These girls never know when they are beaten," says Tennyson.
"They are very dedicated and we would be very keen to get into Division Three. That would be a big step up for us but we know that everything hinges on our display (today)."
Cathy Carey, Caitlin Taggart and Ciara Durnien carry a big scoring threat for Antrim while skipper Tennyson leads by splendid example.
"Saoirse Tennyson is only 22 but she plays like a veteran," smiles manager O'Kane. "She sets a superb example."
Fermanagh boss Johnny Garrity is anxious that his team should not concede ground to the extent that they did in the first-half against Limerick.
"We made things hard for ourselves by giving away those first-half goals and that's something we will have to guard against," says Garrity.
In today's Division Three final at Clones, Meath will take on Sligo and in Stacey Grimes, Vicki Wall and Emma Duggan the Royal County look to have forwards capable of plundering the scores that might well take them into Division Two.
Cork and Galway will meet in the Division One final at Parnell Park, Dublin tomorrow (4.00) and this will be preceded by the Division Two final between Kerry and Waterford.
Cork will be hoping to land what would be their sixth title in seven years while Galway in comparison have lost all five finals in which they have appeared to date.
Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald believes his side can continue to be the dominant force within the sport but acknowledges that Galway's form this year has been encouraging.
"We can take nothing for granted, it's going to be very tough," says the Cork boss.
In the Division Two final, Kerry skipper Amanda Brosnan is hoping her side can end the league on a high by claiming the title.
"I think we had something like three different management set-ups last year in all and this did not help achieve stability," admits Brosnan.
"But we have hit form and maybe we can win (tomorrow)," she adds.