By DARAGH SMALL

Galway Ladies senior football team captain Tracey Leonard said there was huge relief in the camp when Tim Rabbitte was named as 2019 manager, which ensured continuity following Stephen Glennon’s two-year tenure.

Rabbitte will take charge of his first competitive game in the opening round of the 2019 Lidl National League on Saturday afternoon when Galway face Cork in Mallow (1pm) in Division 1.

And having Rabbitte on board will help to continue the progress made under Glennon, according to Leonard.

“Stephen is a big loss to us. He brought Galway ladies football to where it is today but it’s left in safe hands with Tim Rabbitte taking over,” said Leonard (27).

“Tim was in with Stephen last year and he knows what it takes. It can take two or three years to build up those relationships. But Tim has stepped up to be manager and that was a relief for us.

“Standards are a lot higher in the camp now thanks to Stephen. We have a base now, and little things like nutrition after training – all these things that seem so small they benefit us so much. He set a real organised structure there and built the culture that Tim has picked up on. Hopefully we can kick on from that.”

Boosted by the inclusion of Irish internationals Dora Gorman and Méabh De Búrca (soccer) and Mairead Coyne (rugby) in the squad, Galway will have hopes of winning their first Lidl National league Division 1 this year, but they will be tested in the top flight.

Defeat to Dublin in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland semi-final was an indication of progression, and Leonard would love to lift silverware before the summer, following on from the 2018 TG4 Connacht Final victory over Mayo.

“It’d be massive for the group. We’ve been there or thereabouts in the last few years but have nothing to show for it apart from Connacht titles. It’s just about the small adjustments and learning from our mistakes.

“Division 1 is very competitive and a loss or two you can be in trouble. Starting from Saturday we need to make it our business to clock up a few points.”