Sport

Hurley and O’Sullivan strikes help West Cork make history

November 21st, 2021 10:00 AM

By Ger McCarthy

The West Cork U15 Schoolgirls squad that earned the region's first-ever Gaynor Cup point following a 2-2 draw with Limerick County last weekend.

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THE West Cork U15 Schoolgirls made history by claiming their first SFAI Gaynor Cup points following a 2-2 draw with Limerick County last weekend.

The West Cork team finished off the group phase of the Gaynor Cup in the best possible fashion. This is their first season competing at the national schoolgirls’ grade. Gaining a foothold and as much experience as possible in the ultra-competitive schoolgirls’ competition were West Cork’s goals at the start of the campaign.

A tough draw saw West Cork lose to established leagues Cork, Kerry and eventual group winners South Tipperary, but David Hall’s side improved with each fixture and benefitted from regular midweek Emerging Talent Programme training sessions.

Limerick County were West Cork’s final group opponents in Charleville last Saturday where Emma Hurley and Sophie O’Sullivan strikes looked to have earned West Cork a 2-0 victory. Alas, two late goals, including a dubious penalty, saw Limerick County scrape a 2-2 draw from the jaws of defeat. Nevertheless, it was still a terrific West Cork display that augurs well for the knockout phase of the competition.

Next up are the knockout stages of the SFAI Gaynor Cup where all the first placed group finishers will contest for the country’s top schoolgirls inter-league honours. Runners-up in all five groups will enter the Gaynor Shield, third place finishers will take part in the Gaynor Plate, fourth place finishers in the Gaynor Bowl and fifth places leagues in the Gaynor Trophy.

It is an open draw for all remaining knockout competitions. November 27th and 28th are pencilled in for the quarter-finals of this year’s SFAI schoolgirls competitions. Semi-finals take place on December 4th and 5th with this year’s SFAI Gaynor competition national finals pencilled in for December 11th and 12th.

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The West Cork Schoolboys U14 inter-league squad travelled to Bellew Park for an SFAI Kennedy Shield quarter-final with Dundalk last Sunday. The WCSSL side finished third in Group E of this season’s revamped Kennedy Cup competition. A regionalised set of groups rather than the usual week-long summer tournament at the University of Limerick was necessary because of Covid. West Cork finished behind group winners Cork and runners-up Clare but ahead of West Waterford East Cork after picking up one win from their three Group E outings. That meant entry into the SFAI Kennedy Shield along with fellow third-placed finishing leagues from around the country. Alas, a strong Dundalk team was paired with West Cork. Last Sunday’s quarter-final saw Dundalk record a 5-1 win despite Jamie Dullea netting for West Cork.

The West Cork squad included: Jack Hennigan (Lyre), Jack Coomey (Castlelack), Adam Sexton (Clonakilty), Adam O’Donovan (Skibbereen), Dylan Heaton-Jones (Skibbereen), Luke Murphy (Clonakilty), Paddy Collins (Skibbereen), Mike Crowley (Lyre), Fintan O’Brien (Bunratty), Mark McCarthy (Drinagh), Olan Murphy (Lyre), Jamie Dullea (Dunmanway), Rory McCarthy (Lyre), Jason Murray (Lyre), Eoin Keohane (Riverside), Euan Lehane (Dunmanway), Gearoid Coughlan (Bunratty) and Matt Daly (Riverside).

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