PHOTO: Leanne Tumelty of Kilkenny United WFC, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring her side’s first goal during the Continental Tyres Women’s National League match between Kilkenny United WFC and Galway WFC at United Park, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.
Continental Tyres Women’s National League: McQuillan delight as Kilkenny claim first-ever WNL victory
Kilkenny United manager Casey McQuillan has praised the effort and character of his players following the club’s first-ever Continental Tyres Women’s National League victory.
It was a historic day in Thomastown yesterday as Kilkenny claimed their first WNL victory thanks to Leanne Tumelty’s first-half strike against Galway WFC.
Kilkenny have always had a young squad in the WNL but have finally got the reward they were looking for with the narrow victory and McQuillan was delighted with the performance.
The Kilkenny boss said: “It was a fantastic day and I’m delighted for the girls. I’ve only just got there but really, the girls have been down there two and a half years trying to get that result so it’s great for the club.
“I’ve won the FAI Cup with Raheny at the Aviva. I would say the emotions where the same yesterday and understandably so. When the club has been put down for so long and then you finally get a chance to stand up, it’s great.
“The girls should be very proud of themselves because their effort deserved it. But, I’ll get them going again on Tuesday in training as we’ve got to build on it now.”
McQuillan joined Kilkenny in June and the win was just his third match in charge of the side having departed the Shelbourne Ladies underage set-up.
Kilkenny had lost all the previous games this season and McQuillan says he was attracted to the role for the challenge and that belief has played a huge role in the turnaround.
McQuillan continued: “I like the challenge. I didn’t believe the girls where getting the help they should be getting. I watched them play against Shelbourne and they competed for 20 minutes but then lost control on the game.
“They needed someone to come in who believed in them and I saw that as a challenge. I saw as a job where I could go in and improve it. No girl should be going out onto the pitch to get battered every week.
“I’d like to think I’ve given them a bit of belief in themselves. The mentality of losing games and accepting that your losing can be a difficult thing to shake but we’re changing the little things slowly.
“Tactically, we’re beginning to deny the space to opposition and they’ve got to know that we don’t need the best players in the world to win games.”
Kilkenny are set to welcome Cork City to the Watershed on Sunday but this will be confirmed following a FAI venue inspection on Wednesday.
With their first points now on the board this campaign, McQuillan believes other teams will have to start taking Kilkenny more seriously now.
He continued: “They are a great bunch of kids but they just need the right guidance. We’re not going to be winning the league this year or anything like it but it’s a step on the ladder.
“Beforehand, people wouldn’t give Kilkenny the courtesy of coming down to analyse us but I’d say, now they’re going to have to start doing that because it’ll be at their own peril if they don’t.”
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