THERE’S just no stopping the Bantry Blues ladies football team.
This Saturday, October 1st, the newly-crowned Cork intermediate ladies football champions set foot in the provincial series when they take on Kerry side, Rathmore, in a Munster quarter-final, in Dromtarriffe, at 2.15pm.
A place in the semi-final against Waterford champions Abbeyside awaits the winner.
Bantry have recent experience of provincial football, having won the Munster junior crown last year on their way to the All-Ireland final, which they lost to Dunboyne, and this season has seen Bantry’s rise through the ranks continue at pace.
Considering the club first fielded an adult ladies team in 2009, they have now won junior C (2010), junior B (2012) and junior A (2015) county titles, followed by an intermediate crown this season, and next season they’ll line out in the senior championships.
It’s a remarkable tale, and they’re not finished yet.
‘They’ve taken it all in their stride this season, they’re a great bunch of girls, really committed and they’re also very good footballers,’ explained Ivan Kingston, who is part of the management team alongside Brian Gleeson and Stephen Dineen.
‘Playing in the intermediate championship was a new challenge this year and they enjoyed it. This panel has a lot of experience, especially from last year when they won county and Munster titles and played in an All-Ireland final, and they’re showing that experience now.’
Central to the Bantry cause are Cork senior Libby Coppinger, All-Ireland winning Cork minor Emma Spillane, Amy Dineen, Aoife O’Driscoll, Myra O’Sullivan, Ann and Lucy Coakley, goalkeeper Seadna O’Sullivan, Rachel Murphy and experienced captain Edel McGovern.
Bantry defeated Rosscarbery, 2-15 to 3-9, in the recent county final played in Castlehaven, which also means the Blues will play senior football in 2017 – this season several Blues players are involved in the new West Cork divisional team that has reached the SFC county semi-final where they will play Mourneabbey on Sunday.
In the coming weeks Bantry will also take on Glanworth in the county league Division 2A final while they also have a West Cork semi-final against Clonakilty on the horizon.
First up, however, is a Munster quarter-final against Kerry champions Rathmore, who beat Scartaglin 2-18 to 1-8 in the Kingdom final. Kerry senior captain Aislinn Desmond lines out for Rathmore, while Aileen Sheehan is also on the Kingdom panel.
‘From here on everything is bonus territory. When we set out at the start of the year the target was to win the county and earn senior status – and we’ve achieved that,’ Ivan Kingston explained.