A SKIBBEREEN Area team comprising of players from Castlehaven, O’Donovan Rossa, Ilen Rovers and Caheragh ladies’ GAA clubs captured the Community Games U12 All-Ireland girls’ national football title in UL.
Following victories over Glanmire and Beara in Cork county, and the Clare and Waterford champions in the Munster series, the West Cork team qualified for the Aldi Community Games national finals at the University of Limerick.
The West Cork girls’ semi-final opponents were Leinster champions Dunboyne, and the Cork champs led 2-7 to 0-4 at half time thanks to scores from Eabha O’Donovan, Ellie McCarthy, Caoimhe Flannery and Kate Carey. West Cork went on to win 6-11 to 2-6. Scorers were Caoimhe Flannery (3-0), Aoife ODriscoll (2-2), Eabha O’Donovan (0-5), Ellie McCarthy (1-1) and Kate Carey (0-3).
In the national final against Ulster champions St Patrick’s, West Cork trailed 2-6 to 1-3 at half time.
The West Cork girls responded brilliantly to the challenge and the hard-working midfield duo of Aoife O’Driscoll and Millie Coakley provided the forward quartet of Eabha O’Donovan, Ellie McCarthy, Kate Carey and Caoimhe Flannery with lots of opportunities to score and they did this in great style to bring the margin to one point at the end of the third quarter.
The last ten minutes was frantic and some tremendous defensive play by Alannah Cawley, Eleanor Keating, Allie Tobin, Ellen Buckley and Emma Hegarty ensured that the Ulster girls were kept at bay.
At the other end, the West Cork attack combined brilliantly and ensured a lead of six points with time running out.
A goal by the Cavan girls in injury time was not enough and the West Cork girls created history by bringing the first All-Ireland Community Games football title back to the Skibbereen area.
Scorers in the final were Kate Carey 2-1, Aoife ODriscoll 1-2, Eabha O’Donovan 1-1, Caoimhe Flannery 1-1, and Ellie McCarthy 0-1.
Team managers Ger Carey (Ilen Rovers) and Miriam Forbes (Dohenys GAA) were instrumental in this victory. Preparations started last April when the first trials were held and since then the team has trained and played together at least twice a week. Miriam and Ger’s commitment, coaching expertise and attention to detail instilled great belief and a never-say-die attitude into this group, all of which were called upon in the final.
A cavalcade led by Skibbereen fire brigade and Garda car beeped their way through Skibbereen town to honour such an enormous achievement – a perfect end to a perfect day.
Panel: Ellie McCarthy, Ellen Buckley, Caoimhe Flannery, Kate O’Connell, Katelyn O’Driscoll, Grace O’Connell (Castlehaven), Allie Tobin, Aoife O’Driscoll, Millie Coakley, Eabha ODonovan, Eimhin Murphy (O’Donovan Rossa), Alannah Cawley, Kate Carey, Saorla Carey (Ilen Rovers), Eleanor Keating, Emma Hegarty (Caheragh).