BANDON GAA’s Brian Cotter is the new West Cork LGFA Chairman ahead of a critical year for ladies football in the region.
Last week’s West Cork LGFA AGM elected its new executive for 2021. The following officers were elected: Kay Coffey (vice chairperson), Eleanor O’Connell (secretary), Marie Buckley (assistant secretary), Paul O’Callaghan (treasurer) and Declan Harte (fixtures secretary).
The PRO role remains vacant following previous incumbent Brian Cotter’s election as chairperson. The West Cork board is hoping to recruit a social-media savvy individual for the PRO position, something that might suit a person involved in digital marketing or public relations.
New chairperson Cotter has been a staunch supporter and coach of West Cork ladies football for many years. The Bandon GAA Club man is also maintaining a long family tradition of involvement at administrative level.
‘Why did I take on the role? I have a lot of ideas and a great passion for ladies football as well as the GAA,’ Brian Cotter told The Southern Star.
‘I said I would accept the chairperson’s role and give it my best shot. Hopefully, I will bring something new and fresh to it.
‘It is in the blood; in that I am now a third generation divisional chairperson. My father, Jack (junior) and grandfather, Jack (senior), are former chairpersons of the East Cork GAA board.
‘My grandfather was actually a founder member of the East Cork juvenile board and chairman of that for 23 years. My father was an adult and county juvenile chairman as well. As much as I enjoy coaching, the administration side of the GAA has always been in the family. I knew that I was eventually going to dabble in it when the time came.’
Cork ladies football enjoyed a successful year at senior inter-county level, but there will be many challenges to deal with at juvenile level in the coming years. For now, West Cork is contributing a higher number of players to Cork’s underage inter-county squads than ever before.
‘There has been a real upward curve for West Cork clubs in terms of results at underage level in recent years,’ Cotter stated.
‘Look where we were about five years ago, four or five West Cork players on the Cork LGFA underage inter-county panels was about the average for the region. Now, West Cork representation has risen to double-digits on all inter-county squads, especially at U14.
‘I think that rise stems from West Cork’s development programme. I am a great believer in underage development structures as they feed into an overall higher standard at club level. Girls that take part in the programme receive a higher standard of coaching and train with girls of a similar or higher level.
‘The girls bring what they have learned back to their clubs and as a result, I have seen a definite higher standard of club football being played in West Cork.
‘The challenge for West Cork clubs over the next couple of years is to start winning county championships at the A, B, C and D grades. We have won county titles at the lower grades but it would be nice to see all West Cork clubs kicking on and matching the likes of Éire Óg and Glanmire.
‘That in turn will lead into stronger West Cork clubs at adult level. We are starting to see that already with Clonakilty, O’Donovan Rossa, Valley Rovers, St Colum’s and Castlehaven either winning or contesting county finals this year.
‘I must also mention our own divisional West Cork team winning their first senior county championship as well. Getting things right at underage level within a division moves everything forward.’
A ladies football club master fixture-list was decided at national level this week. Depending on Covid, West Cork LGFA will shortly decide when their various adult and underage championships can go ahead in 2021.
‘We dealt with a small window last year but got very close to finishing all our underage championships,’ Cotter said.
‘I would hope that we will be given two extended periods, outside of exams, to run our championships and hopefully lead into the inter-county competitions. West Cork girls want to play games as often as they can but also test themselves against girls from other parts of the county at a high level.
‘Winning championships is not the be all and end all but we want a good, extended championship to keep the girls interested and involved