CLARE proved too strong for West Cork in their 2021 SFAI Kennedy Cup opener recently.
Shannon Hibernian FC’s home ground was the venue for West Cork’s opening Group E match in a revamped Kennedy Cup competition. A newly-introduced regional group-based qualifying system kicked off with fixtures taking place throughout the country last weekend.
Drawn in Group E with Cork, West Waterford East Cork and Clare, the WCSSL travelled to the latter for last Saturday’s opening group encounter, but came home empty handed after a 3-0 loss.
Clare broke the deadlock late in the opening half and doubled their advantage shortly after the restart.
Admirably, West Cork continued to press forward but were grateful to goalkeeper Fintan O’Brien for a string of top-class saves. A marvellous penalty stop saw O’Brien was one of the highlights of this contest, while Clare from added a third goal later on,
A 3-0 final score was harsh on a West Cork side that performed well and impressed head coach Áine O’Donovan.
‘It was a really tough test for West Cork in our first SFAI Kennedy Cup game of the season and away from home as well,’ O’Donovan told The Southern Star.
‘The good thing is there are plenty of things for us to work on ahead of our two remaining Group E games at home to West Waterford East Cork and Cork. Psychologically, it will be a massive bonus for the lads to play their next two Kennedy Cup games at home.
‘Travelling long distances, like today against Clare, is a lot to ask young players.
‘We hope that West Cork’s soccer community will come out and support our Kennedy Cup team. They are a brilliant bunch and have worked really hard during lockdown.
Next up for West Cork is the first of their two Group E home fixtures.
West Waterford East Cork visit West Cork on the weekend of October 2nd/3rd before a local derby with Cork on October 23rd/24th. West Cork’s final group placing will determine which SFAI Kennedy Cup knockout tournament they enter once the group phase has been completed.
The West Cork squad includes Jack Hennigan, Jack Coomey, Adam Sexton, Adam O’Donovan, Dylan Heaton-Jones, Luke Murphy, Paddy Collins, Mike Crowley, Fintan O’Brien, Mark McCarthy, Alex Coughlan, Danny O’Donovan, Olan Murphy, Jamie Dullea, Rory McCarthy, Jason Murray, Eoin Keohane, Euan Lehane, Gearoid Coughlan, Matt Daly and Ogie Walsh.