PAUL Drummey has backed his history-chasing Bantry Blues ladies to achieve what no team from the club has done before – win a Munster football title.
This Saturday, Bantry’s all-conquering junior ladies take on a youthful Templemore in the Munster junior A football final, in Mallow, at 2pm.
It’s an historic occasion for the club and for this team that has enjoyed an incredible season, highlighted by their unbeaten record.
Already, this team – managed by Paul Drummey and Joe Downey, along with selectors Niall Canty and John McCarthy – has won the county Division 3A league title and the Cork JAFC crown, beating Kinsale in that final.
Then came a comprehensive Munster semi-final rout (3-19 to 1-3) against Waterford champions, Comeragh Rangers, which has set-up a provincial showdown against Tipp team Templemore.
‘We certainly need to raise our level from the Munster semi-final. In parts of the game we were brilliant but for 20 minutes we became scrappy and didn’t really score,’ Drummey said.
‘The signs are all there for another big performance. We have saved our best performances this season for the two finals we’ve been it so it would be great if we could repeat that.’
Bantry are waiting on the availablity of captain Laura O’Sullivan (22) who went off injured in the semi-final win against Comeragh.
‘We have a few injury worries but that’s bound to happen as it’s been an extra long season. Laura’s knee is getting there and we are hopeful she might play at the weekend,’ Drummey confirmed.
Standing in Bantry’s way of a first Munster title this Saturday is a Templemore team that beat Feohanagh/Castlemahon of Limerick (3-4 to 1-12) in their semi-final.
Miriam Campion (1-2), Elaine Fitzpatrick (1-1) and Niamh Tracey (1-1) were Templemore’s scorers that day.
‘They are a very youthful side with only one person over the age of 18,’ Drummey noted.
‘They are very strong up the middle and have players who can cause us a few problems up front. They might be youthful but they certainly don’t lack experience.’
On the back of their form this season Bantry will be relishing this test, with Aoife O’Driscoll and Libby Coppinger in goal-scoring form in the last two games. O’Driscoll scored 2-5 against Comeragh to follow her 2-6 in the Cork JAFC final win (5-16 to 1-9) against Kinsale, while Coppinger finished with 1-5 against Comeragh and 1-6 against Kinsale. Emer O’Shea and Myra O’Sullivan have also been regular scorers in the last two games.
Emma Spillane and Jessica Coakley form a strong midfield partnership while Edel McGovern, Ann Coakley and Mairead Dullea have been prominent in defence too.
‘We have built momentum all season but it’s very important we stay grounded,’ Drummey said.
‘The girls know that the Munster title has never been brought back to Bantry in male or female football, but they also know the performance will need to be raised again from the semi-final.
‘They are a very grounded group and have taken all of this in their stride so far. It’s important we treat this as another football match and not let the occasion override the performance that we’re capable of giving.’
The sponsors of the Bantry ladies’ football team, The Quays Bar in Bantry, are organising a supporters’ bus to Mallow for Saturday’s Munster final. Contact Richard (086-875001) for more information.