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All-Star Erika is Australia bound as Ronayne names championship panel

May 9th, 2022 2:19 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Cork defender Erika O'Shea is set for a move Down Under

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Macroom’s Erika O’Shea is among several notable absentees from the Cork LGFA senior Munster and All-Ireland championship panel following the confirmation of her move to join an AFLW franchise in Australia.

O’Shea told the Irish Examiner last Tuesday that: ‘The idea of being able to play a professional sport at 19 and be the youngest girl to ever go over from Ireland, it really excited me’.

It’s expected the teenager will leave for Australia before the end of the month.

O’Shea is set to follow in the footsteps of several other ex-Cork footballers who have made the move in recent times including the legendary Bríd Stack, who became the first Cork LGFA player to secure a professional contract with a Women’s Aussie Rules club in Australia when she signed for the Greater Western Sydney Giants in 2020.

The news will come as a blow to new Cork manager Shane Ronayne who is busy preparing his side for their championship opener away to Waterford on Sunday, May 15th.

Defender O’Shea is one of two Rebels named on the All-Star team last season, along with midfielder Hannah Looney; both players were first-time All-Stars.

O’Shea won her All-Star in what was just her second season at senior level with Cork and, just like her first campaign in 2020, she looked right at home.

According to reports O’Shea will set off on her exciting new journey at the end of this month with the new AFLW season set to throw-in in August.

Shane Ronayne announced his Cork senior panel for the upcoming championship which begins with a provincial semi-final away to Waterford on Saturday.

Other big names not listed in Ronayne’s first championship panel as manager include Valley Rovers’ Daire and Eimear Kiely as well Kinsale’s Sadhbh O’Leary.

All three are believed to be heading off on their travels over the summer months.

Beara’s Niamh Cotter is another prominent name not listed. Dealing with persistent injuries, the ultra-talented midfielder’s presence will be missed both inside and outside the Cork dressing room. Clare O’Shea and Áine Terry O’Sullivan will fly the Beara flag at senior inter-county level in Cotter’s absence.

Bantry Blues’ Emma Spillane will be eager to force her way back into Ronayne’s starting fifteen in a team Dohenys’ Melissa Duggan will act as vice-captain. Orla Finn is joined by Kinsale team mate Faye Ahern on the Cork panel ahead of an inter-county championship O’Donovan Rossa’s in-form Laura O’Mahony will be eager to stay injury-free.

Clonakilty’s Martina O’Brien continues in goal while fellow West Cork native Libby Coppinger is going to be extra busy over the summer. The St. Colum’s dual star has already nailed down a starting full-back berth in Matthew Twomey’s Cork senior camogie team.

This year’s panel is back-boned by eight of the 2021 Cork and Munster senior title-winners Mourneabbey side that also reached the All-Ireland senior club final. Mourneabbey’s Máire O’Callaghan will captain her county.

2022 Cork LFGA Senior Panel:

Rachel Leahy, Róisín Phelan, Sarah Leahy (Aghada), Shauna Kelly (Araglen Desmonds Buí), Emma Spillane (Bantry Blues) Clare O’Shea, Áine Terry O’Sullivan (Beara), Katie Quirke (Bride Rovers), Martina O’Brien (Clonakilty), Melissa Duggan (vice-captain, Dohenys), Chloe Collins (Dromtarriffe), Eimear Scally, Meabh Cahalane (Éire Óg), Aisling Hutchings (Fermoy), Abbie O’Mahony (Glanmire), Caoimhe Moore (Kanturk), Faye Ahern, Orla Finn (Kinsale), Dara Kiniry (Lisgoold), Orlagh Farmer (Midleton), Bríd O’Sullivan, Ciara O’Sullivan, Doireann O’Sullivan, Eimear Meaney, Ellie Jack, Laura Fitzgerald, Máire O’Callaghan (captain), Meabh O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), Laura O’Mahony (O’Donovan Rossa), Libby Coppinger (St. Colum’s), Aisling Kelleher, Ciara McCarthy and Marie Ambrose (St. Val’s).

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