BY KIERAN McCARTHY
LET us entertain you – that’s the message from the manager of the first ever West Cork ladies senior football divisional team.
A huge boost for ladies’ GAA in West Cork, the division will enter a team in this year’s county senior football championship for the very first time and Brian McCarthy (Clann na nGael) feels that these history-makers will excite supports with their attractive brand of football.
‘The girls have all bought in to what we want to do and our style of football, and I have to say we are a lovely footballing team so anyone who comes and watches us will like what they see. We have players who can win games,’ McCarthy told The Southern Star.
‘We have players who have played Cork senior, U21, minor, U16 and who have come up through the grades. This is very much a team unit. They have gelled together really well so far.’
Cork’s star forward of their successful Lidl Ladies NFL Division 1 campaign, Orla Finn from Kinsale, as well as inter-county teammates Áine Hayes (Rosscarbery) and Libby Coppinger (Bantry Blues) are involved in this new set-up, while others involved include Melissa Duggan (Dohenys), Emma Spillane (Bantry Blues) and Sadbh O’Leary (Kinsale).
Praising the attitude and commitment of the players, who are after three challenge games – against Cork U21s, Eire Óg and Clonakilty – and numerous training sessions at Rosscabery Ladies Football Club, McCarthy says the West Cork Ladies Football Board deserves huge credit for getting this up and running.
‘You have clubs from Bantry all the way over to Kinsale involved so this covers a huge region, and the only clubs not involved are the two senior clubs in the region, Clonakilty and Beara,’ said McCarthy who is joined on the management team by former Cork minor ladies coach Denis Enright, Anne O’Grady (Bantry) and Ger Finn (Kinsale).
‘It’s a great chance for these players to showcase what West Cork ladies football is all about, and it’s also an opportunity for these players to come together, pit their wits against some of the best footballers in the county and see how they get on. Some clubs in West Cork will never reach senior football so this is a chance for their players to experience the top level in the county.’
West Cork will be guaranteed at least three matches, as the four divisions – West Cork, North Cork, Mid Cork and East Cork – have been paired together in one group with the top team after the round-robin stage advancing to the quarter-finals of the championship. West Cork’s first match against North Cork is expected to be played on the weekend of July 19th.
There is also talk that there will be a divisional county championship between the four divisional teams, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Still on the look-out for a sponsor, McCarthy added: ‘We have had fantastic support from the West Cork Board and the co-operation from the clubs has been brilliant – everyone has been right behind this. We’ll all work together to make this work.
‘It would be great if we could get a sponsor because this is not a once-off, everybody wants to keep this going. No matter what the outcome this year we’ll be back again next year.’