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New U13 schoolgirls’ grade for WCSSL season ahead

March 30th, 2024 10:00 AM

By Ger McCarthy

New U13 schoolgirls’ grade for WCSSL season ahead Image
Sullane with the 2023 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League U12 Schoolgirls Cup trophy.

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A NEW SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League soccer season will kick off in April.

The WCSSL Committee and clubs have been busily preparing for the 2024 campaign over the past number of months. As a result, 14 West Cork clubs will participate in upcoming WCSSL League, Cup, Shield, Bowl and Plate competitions. Those clubs are Ardfield, Bay Rovers (formerly Kilgoban), Beara United, Bunratty United, Castlelack, Clonakilty AFC, Drinagh Rangers, Dunmanway Town, Kilmichael Rovers, Lyre Rovers, Riverside Athletic, Skibbereen, Sullane and Togher Celtic.

It is the WCSSL Committee’s intention to schedule fixtures for the week beginning Monday, April 8th. That scenario is dependent on each competing club having registered their players on the national FAI Connect app before the March 28th deadline.

Age-grades from U10 to U16 will be accommodated including a growing number of schoolgirls participants at U10 (mixed), U11 (mixed), U12, U13, U14 and U16. Nine teams have expressed interest in contesting this season’s SuperValu U12 Schoolgirls Premier and Championship divisions. Encouragingly, there is sufficient interest to introduce a new U13 schoolgirls grade for the coming year. Five clubs are anxious to compete at U14 schoolgirls level with five additional clubs ready to compete at U16. That would represent the first time a U16 schoolgirls’ grade has been contested since 2022.

It is refreshing to see a growing number of schoolgirls playing soccer throughout the region. Sullane dominated last year’s SuperValu U12 Schoolgirls Premier League. The Ballyvourney-based club won all ten league fixtures to finish ten points ahead of nearest challengers Clonakilty AFC. Aisling Kelleher netted 26 league goals in a free-scoring Sullane side that also had Caroline Creedon, Grainne Ní Loinsigh, Lily Hoare, Muireann Ní Shuibhne, Lily Scannell and Abbie Ni Scannlain regularly on their scoresheet.

Not content with a league trophy, Sullane added the SuperValu U12 Schoolgirls Cup by overcoming Skibbereen, Riverside Rangers and Drinagh Rangers to complete a domestic double. The Ballyvourney side made additional headlines thanks to a memorable 2022 SFAI U12 Schoolgirls National Cup run that ended in defeat at the (national) quarter-final stages.



Former Drinagh Rangers graduate Emma Hurley couldn’t prevent Cork City Women’s FC’s U17 team slipping to a 1-0 loss away to Bray Wanderers in a EA Sports League of Ireland U17 Academy Group D clash. That result leaves City in joint-second place alongside Wanderers and three points behind new leaders Waterford. Next up for Emma is a home league game against Kerry on April 6th.

Cork City Women’s FC has endured a difficult start to this season’s SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division. Consecutive defeats in their opening two games has put some early-season pressure on a young Leesiders outfit. Last weekend’s break may have come at an opportune time. Bandon’s Niamh Cotter has been one of City’s few bright spots so far this term and will be hoping for an upturn in fortunes away to Bohemians on Saturday.



Ardfield’s John O’Donovan has been a mainstay in the Cork City senior side’s defence so far this term in their League of Ireland First Division campaign. City were in Markets Field for last Friday night’s Munster derby with Treaty United. O’Donovan played a key role in maintaining City’s undefeated record during a scoreless draw. That outcome keeps Cork three clear of Treaty at the summit of the standings and ahead of City’s next league outing at home to Athlone Town on Friday evening.

Cobh Ramblers’ rise to the summit of the EA Sports League of Ireland U20 Group C table has included rising star Evan Deasy. The young Bandon striker has found the net three times in Ramblers’ first four outings. Deasy will be back in action on April 6th when the group leaders host Waterford United.

There is plenty of West Cork involvement in this season’s EA Sports League of Ireland Academy U15 grade. Newcestown’s Luke Dollery has been standing out for Cobh Ramblers, as has Cork City goalkeeper Rory Twohig. The former Lyre Rovers netminder was in the City U15 squad for last Saturday’s Group D meeting with second-placed Wexford which ended 0-0. On the same day, Dollery was in the Cobh team that travelled to Waterford; he played his part in an exciting 2-2 draw.

EA Sports League of Ireland U14 Academy pacesetters Cobh Ramblers put their undefeated Group D record on the line away to Kerry. Clonakilty AFC graduates Charlie Moore and Ethan O’Donovan are enjoying terrific campaigns. Moore is top of the assists charts while O’Donovan sits amongst the U14 league’s top scorers. Mounthawk Park hosted last Sunday’s Munster derby where neither side was able to conjure up a goal. A 0-0 draw maintained Ramblers’ table-topping record ahead of a meeting with Waterford United on Sunday.

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