O'Donovan Rossa win county title and promotion to junior A ranks

November 1st, 2021 8:20 AM

By Ger McCarthy

The O'Donovan Rossa panel that beat Watergrasshill to win the 2021 Cork LGFA Junior B county final.

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O’Donovan Rossa 1-15

Watergrasshill 1-7

O’DONOVAN Rossa put the seal on a memorable year when they were crowned Cork LGFA Junior B county champions in Bishopstown last Sunday.

The West Cork club gained promotion to the junior A ranks thanks to an eight-point victory over Watergrasshill in a county decider where Kate O’Donovan played a starring role.

Red-hot O’Donovan scored nine points of her side’s winning total on an afternoon Triona Murphy’s goal also proved pivotal.

O’Donovan Rossa and Watergrasshill made it through to the knockout stages of the junior B championship by topping their respective qualifying groups. Rossas finished level on six points with Midelton and Rockbán but went through by virtue of their superior scoring difference.

That set-up a semi-final meeting with Nemo Rangers in which Rossas emerged convincing 2-13 to 0-5 winners. Their county final opponents, Watergrasshill, finished ahead of Nemo, Courcey Rovers and Funcheon Gaels before accounting for Rockbán 2-9 to 0-10 in the last four.

Last weekend’s county decider was played in Bishopstown with a more clinical O’Donovan Rossa coming out on top 1-15 to 1-7. Kate O’Donovan (0-9, 0-3 frees), Triona Murphy (1-0), Laura O’Mahony and Mallaidh O’Neill (0-2 each), Emer McCarthy and Christine Fitzgerald (0-1 each) were on the winners scoresheet.

A year on from losing the junior B county final to Castlehaven, O’Donovan Rossa were full value for their 2021 victory. Last Sunday’s success was the culmination of a year’s hard work put in by a dedicated panel and management team consisting of James O’Mahony, Katrina Conway, Ger O’Brien and Michael McCarthy. Rossa’s manager Derek Tobin was quick to pay tribute to all involved.

‘We knew we had to step things up after being beaten in last year’s county final,’ Tobin said.

‘The girls have been absolutely brilliant and worked really hard all year. All the work that has been done at underage within O’Donovan Rossa has come through and it is great to be a junior A club now.

‘Watergrasshill were always going to be tough opposition for us and that’s the way it worked out. They are a big, physical side but have some very good players as well. Conditions weren’t great but we knew we were going to get a very good test and Watergrasshill didn’t disappoint.’

Gaining promotion to the junior A county ranks represents another important milestone in this O’Donovan Rossa team’s development. Fellow West Cork rivals Castlehaven and Dohenys currently reside in that grade and Rossas are clearly looking forward to the challenge of moving up another tier.

‘This is another stepping stone along the way,’ Derek Tobin explained.

‘It isn’t that long ago ladies football started up for the first time in O’Donovan Rossa. So, it is fantastic for the club to make another step up the ladder.

‘Conor Kelleher, our strength and conditioning coach, put in a lot of work with the girls at the start of the year and that has paid off now.

‘I couldn’t be prouder of all the girls' efforts. They deserve this success.’

O’Donovan Rossa: Éabha Lucey; Aoife Whooley, Michelle Donnellan, Eadaoin Fitzgerald; Aisling Kearney, Sharon Stoutt, Emer McCarthy; Jessica Beechinor, Laura O’Mahony; Mallaidh O’Neill, Lisa Harte, Christine Fitzgerald; Fiona Leonard, Kate O’Donovan, Tiona Murphy. Subs: Emily Byrne, Emma Connolly, Aideen Bohane, Sarah Hurley, Deirdre Connolly, Kate O’Donovan, Áine McCarthy, Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Fionnuala O’Driscoll.

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