Orlaith, Alannah and Holly add West class to Cork side
BANDON AFC’s Orlaith Deasy, Alannah O’Brien and Holly Warren played pivotal roles in helping the Cork Women’s and Schoolgirls League claim a Shield trophy at the Fota Island Gaynor Tournament in the University of Limerick last week.
The annual Gaynor Tournament is one of the most important get-togethers on the Women’s FAI calendar with schoolgirls’ leagues from all over the country competing for trophies at the U12, U14 and U16 age-grades.
Cork had two teams, U14 and U16, taking part at this summer’s tournament with the latter drawn in a tough opening group before recovering to finish 15th overall.
Cork’s U14 side enjoyed a promising start by overcoming South Tipperary (3-0), losing 1-0 to North Tipperary and drawing 1-1 with Donegal.
A 3-1 victory over Galway in the Gaynor Shield semi-final setup a meeting with the Metropolitan Girls League (MGL), the biggest schoolgirl’s league in the country.
Creditably, Cork produced a magnificent performance with Wilton’s Laura Shine scoring twice in a 2-1 triumph to secure the Shield trophy.
Three of the Cork Schoolgirls League’s back four have come through Bandon AFC’s ranks with Orlaith Deasy, Alannah O’Brien and Holly Warren each making their mark on the Gaynor Tournament.
‘I am playing soccer for the past five years with Bandon,’ Holly Warren said.
‘I hadn’t played at all before I started with them (Bandon) but it has been really good and I’ve enjoyed the training and playing matches. We play in the Cork Schoolgirls League and also take part in the National Cup.’
‘I joined up with Bandon three years ago and won a Premier League with them in 2017 and also got to a cup final,’ Clonakilty native Alannah O’Brien stated.
‘Bandon soccer club is a great place for girls to play soccer. We train once a week and play matches every second Saturday.
‘Orla and I also play GAA for Clonakilty and just won the U14 A football county championship. We are also part of the Cork U14 panel so it has been a very busy year.’
Orlaith Deasy noted: ‘I started playing soccer in primary school before joining Bandon over four years ago.
‘Alannah and I joined up with Bandon and have really enjoyed training and playing for the club. There are a lot of girls playing for Bandon now at the U12, 14, 16 and 18 age-groups. The club has a really good set-up and very good coaches.
‘I also just won a county title with Clonakilty and myself and Alannah also play camogie for the club as well. All our spare time is taken up with sport but we love it.’
Seeing three West Cork girls impress amongst the Cork Schoolgirls League ranks en route to winning a trophy at the Gaynor Tournament underlines the quality of players emerging from the rural area over recent years.
Hopes are high of kick-starting a new West Cork Schoolgirls League in the coming months where a new generation of female soccer players might one day represent their region at an FAI tournament.