Claire McMahon faces biggest coaching challenge of career

Claire McMahon
Claire McMahon

Claire McMahon will experience her biggest coaching challenge over the weekend when she acts as assistant to Ulster boss Ali McNeill at the Under 21 interovincial tournament at Lisnagarvey.

The Pegasus winger is obviously looking to the future when she eventually hangs up her stick and she’ll be hoping to emulate another current player come Sunday evening.

Janice Vaughan coached the Ulster U16 squad to interpro glory and the Ards midfielder, like McMahon, is keen to concentrate on business in the dug out in the years to come.

“Claire will bring a lot of experience to the squad and because of that she will have total respect,” said McNeill.

Ulster will be attempting to do a lot better than last year when they could only manage a third place finish at the U21 interpros.

But with a squad boasting plenty of Premier League experience both on the pitch and on the sidelines hopes are high that they can do just that.

Ulster Elks coach McNeill could however have done with more pitch time with her squad as their training was interrupted by the wintry weather.

But most of the other provinces were in the same boat so it may not be a major factor over the course of the tournament which starts on Saturday and concludes on Sunday.

Ulster will have to do without star striker Katie Mullan, who has been called up to the Irish training panel which heads to Spain for some warm-weather training tomorrow.

But there is a wealth of talent in the squad including one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League in the shape of Ballymoney’s Sammy-Jo Greer.

Ulster begin their campaign with a tough game against Munster on Saturday before facing Connacht later in the day.

After a clash with South East on Sunday Ulster play holders Leinster in what could well be the title decider at 5pm.

With the interpros taking centre stage there is just one Premier League match down for decision as Ards take on Armagh.