REARDEN’S All-Star Meadbh Cahalane was an integral part of an Éire Óg team that reached the last four of the Cork LGFA senior football championship semi-finals this past year.
Éire Óg senior ladies was a team in transition under the guidance of John Cleary and Tom Scally in 2018, yet established senior players such as Meadbh Cahalane, Lisa Crowley, Aoife NicAbháird and Eimear Scally helped guide their team to a county semi-final meeting with West Cork.
The divisional side proved too strong on that occasion however, running out seven-point winners. Despite that loss, Cahalane witnessed a gradual improvement in her side’s displays throughout a sometimes difficult year.
‘I would describe this year as a step up from last year,’ Cahalane noted.
‘We won the county senior B title in 2017 so we were hoping for a bit more this year. Making it to the county semi-finals and being competitive at that level was hugely important for our squad’s development though. The experience some of the younger girls gained over the past 12 months was a massive step up for them.
‘It is clear from playing the likes of Mourneabbey and West Cork that we still have a lot of work to do. We are a team in transition, still very young at senior level but hoping to kick on next year.
‘The way the senior championship is structured and the fact you get extra games in the round-robin series is very beneficial. It is a good way to bring on young players and show them what championship football is all about. The likes of Laura and Emma Cleary gained valuable experience playing in those extra games against established senior players.’
Cahalane finished college and started a new accountancy job in Dublin last October. Like many of her fellow senior players, the Éire Óg stalwart’s ability to line out for her club will be tested due to extra travel and work commitments over the next 12 months.
‘It is going to be a challenge to try and balance playing club football, exams and a full-time job,’ the Éire Óg defender admitted.
‘I suppose it will just be a case of prioritising things and improving my time management to try and fit everything in. We will just have to see how it goes.
‘Playing for Éire Óg is very special to me. I have cousins and friends playing there and I enjoy it that bit more by being involved with them. There is a time for taking things seriously, of course, but I really enjoy the bond we have, the fun and enjoyment I get from representing the club.
‘Having John (Cleary) and Tom Scally coaching us is great too. They really enjoy having the craic. They are both very passionate about their football and just want what is best for us. Their combined coaching abilities bring out the best in us, both on a personal level and on the pitch. So even though 2018 didn’t pan out the way we would have wanted, we must build on the hard work we have put in and go for it again next year.’