RISING Cork football star Lia Hogan was a deserving winner of the 2021 Munster LGFA Young Player of the Year award.
The O’Donovan Rossa player has made a name for herself in local and inter-county circles over the past six years. The talented footballer has represented her county at U14 and U16 levels before moving on to this year’s minor panel under manager Joe Carroll.
A Munster championship winner with Denis Mulvihill’s Cork U16s in 2021, Hogan and her fellow panelists missed out on an opportunity to challenge for All-Ireland honours due to Covid. The Skibbereen player is hoping to rectify that record this coming season as part of a talented Cork minor set-up.
A footballer with a growing reputation, Hogan was thrilled if a little shocked to hear of her Munster LGFA Young Player of the Year accolade.
‘I was so surprised when my mom walked in and said, “am I reading this right, you are the Munster Young Player of the Year?”’ Hogan told The Southern Star.
‘It was around 9pm at night when we got the message as the (phone) service where we are is so bad. It was a shock, to be honest, but I was absolutely delighted to get the award.’
Hogan was presented with her award at a recent ceremony held in the Kilmurry Lodge in Limerick. A grateful recipient, the O’Donovan Rossa player proved one of Cork’s most consistent performers during a two-year spell with the county’s U16s.
‘Winning last year’s Munster U16 championship was brilliant,’ Hogan said.
‘We beat Kerry in the final and they are always one of the toughest teams to beat. They have always been tough to play against during the previous years I’ve been with Cork. The year before, the game with Kerry was cancelled only a few days before but, even at U14, they always put it up to Cork. Always.
‘I really enjoy playing for Cork. The fact I have had a group of girls from West Cork with me since we started at U13 makes that even more special.
‘We all know one another well at this stage. Katie O’Driscoll and Millie Condon from Clonakilty, Amy McKennedy and Eleanor Keating from Tadhg MacCarthaigh and Niamh O’Sullivan from my own club, O’Donovan Rossa, as well.’
Along with her Cork teammates, Hogan remains disappointed that she never got a chance to compete for an All-Ireland title at U16 level in the past 24 months. The LGFA’s decision to stop their inter-county tournaments once the provincials were completed (due to Covid) met with widespread anger and disbelief.
‘A shot at an All-Ireland is all you are working for when you train so hard for months and months,’ Hogan said.
‘It has been really disappointing but myself and the other Cork players are as driven as ever to go for an All-Ireland minor title this year.’
Joe Carroll will oversee Cork’s Munster and (hopefully) All-Ireland championships campaigns in 2022. An experienced and successful manager, he is blessed with one of the strongest Cork minor panels for many seasons.
‘This is my first year working with Joe (Carroll) and he is lovely but a very driven coach,’ Hogan said.
‘Joe knows his football and his training is always enjoyable. We focus a lot on our kicking and supporting one another in those sessions.
‘There is a jump in terms of physicality from U16 to minor but I understood what was ahead of me because I have played up in grade for O’Donovan Rossa over the last few years. We are looking forward to the year ahead now and hopefully, we can bring an All-Ireland minor title back to Cork.’