O’DONOVAN Rossa have secured a second consecutive Cork LGFA junior A football championship county final appearance but must wait to see who their opponents will be in this year’s decider.
The West Cork club continued their perfect 2023 championship record with a 0-12 to 0-4 semi-final defeat of Douglas in Skibbereen on Sunday.
Amid awful weather conditions, the West Cork team led 0-5 to 0-2 at the interval before adding seven second-half points to reach a second consecutive JAFC county final.
Éabha O’Donovan top scored with 0-6, including three frees). Additional Laura O’Mahony, Fionnuala O’Driscoll (0-2 each), Kate O’Donovan and Sarah Hurley (0-1 each) efforts helped Rossas get over the line.
Yet for all their scoring exploits, O’Donovan Rossa manager James O’Donovan paid tribute to his defenders who performed well in testing conditions.
‘It was definitely a good defensive effort from us and had to be considering the quality of opposition and the weather conditions for most of the game,’ O’Donovan said.
‘Sunday’s conditions set the tone. It was always going to be a bit of a battle without any fancy football. Defences were on top but I thought our girls defended really, really, well. Our defence set us up for the win.
‘Éabha (O’Donovan), like all our forwards, has been consistent this year. She kicks the frees for us but a lot of hard work is carried out by all the other girls when it comes to creating our scoring opportunities.
‘They create the chances for our forward line who have each been performing well for us this year.’
So, 12 months on from losing to Naomh Abán in the 2022 JAFC decider, O’Donovan Rossa will face either Dohenys or Midleton in this year’s showpiece event. That’s because the latter clubs’ scheduled semi-final clash was postponed due to an unplayable pitch in Dunmanway on Sunday afternoon.
‘Getting back to another junior A county final means everything to O’Donovan Rossa,’ James O’Donovan added.
‘Losing like we did last year was hard to take as it was a county final. The only thing you can do is get back up and get yourself into another final. That’s what the panel has done.
‘It is a big deal to the girls and a target for them since the start of the year. They are delighted to be back where they wanted to be.
‘To be honest, we have played Dohenys three times already this year and Midleton as well so we are as familiar with them as they are with us.
‘There will be a nice buzz around the club over the coming weeks with people putting up flags and signs. It is a boost for the whole club, especially our younger members who will be excited at travelling to another county final.’
Last weekend saw the culmination of the Cork LGFA senior football championship round-robin series and confirmed this year’s senior A and senior B county semi-finalists.
Sadly, there will be no West Cork LGFA involvement in the senior A county knockout stages with Éire Óg taking on Aghada and reigning champions Mourneabbey drawn to face St Val’s.
There will be plenty of local interest in the senior B county however, as Clonakilty and Castlehaven clash with a third West Cork LGFA club, Kinsale, travelling to Fermoy in the other last-four encounter.
Kinsale secured their senior B semi-final berth thanks to a gutsy 2-8 to 0-5 win at home to Inch Rovers last weekend. Sadhbh O’Leary was in excellent form and scored 1-2 with Caoimhe Horgan (0-5), Aoife Keating (1-0) and Faye Ahern (0-1) also featuring. Amid awful conditions, Tracy McCarthy, Amy Casey, Caoimhe O’Callaghan, Caoimhe Horgan, Grainne Cowhig, Caoimhe Heffernan and Maisie O’Callaghan were the pick of Kinsale’s best players. Fermoy will face Kinsale after losing 2-10 to 1-5 to Mourneabbey despite Saoirse Moore (1-1), Abbie Scannell (0-2), Andrea McGrath and Aoibhe Carey (0-1) getting on the scoresheet.
A midweek Group 1 trip to Ovens saw Clonakilty produce a battling display before going down 1-11 to 0-7. Neither side was at full strength but Áine O’Leary, Moira Barrett, Sinead O’Donovan (0-2) and Millie Condon (0-1) points has set up a mouth-watering senior B semi-final with Castlehaven.
Aghada proved far too strong for Haven in last weekend’s Group 2 encounter played out amid terrible weather conditions. Losing comprehensively 4-14 to 0-1 to a full-strength Aghada line-up, Dinny Cahalane’s side will be eager to bounce back when they travel to Ahamilla for a showdown with West Cork rivals Clonakilty in the senior B championship.
Last weekend’s poor weather conditions resulted in Naomh Abán and Valley Rovers’ intermediate county semi-final having to be postponed.
The other IFC last-four clash did go ahead with Glanmire outclassing Rosscarbery Ladies 4-10 to 1-0. Sarah Hayes was Ross’ lone scorer in a game the goal scorer, Maeve Kingston and Claire Kingston impressed. Niamh McAllen (2-2), Orlaith Roche (1-2), Ash McAllen (1-1) and Cork senior Abbie O’Mahony (0-2) were amongst Glanmire’s main contributors. Despite the loss, Rosscarbery has enjoyed a productive season and retained their intermediate status for another year.
This year’s junior B football county semi-finals have been pencilled in for this Sunday with West Cork’s Tadhg Mac Carthaigh going toe to toe with Carrigaline. Rockbán and Bishopstown clash in the other junior B semi-final.
One more round of matches remains in this season’s JCFC where Beara will be anxious to rebound from last weekend’s loss to Ballinora. The rural side lost a close game 2-9 to 1-7 despite 1-6 from former Cork senior Áine Terry O’Sullivan and a Ruby Downing point.
West Cork clubs Bandon and Clann na nGael are still in contention to make the knockout stages of the junior E championship ahead of crucial games this weekend. The Lilywhites host Kildorrery and Clann na nGael are away to Kilworth.
Ibane Ladies travel to Banteer for their second last junior F Group 2 round-robin match on Sunday. In the same grade, Keelnameela hosts Passage.