A MARVELLOUS 2021 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League campaign delivered group, cup and shield winners at multiple age-grades.
It has been an unprecedented year for schoolboys and schoolgirls football in West Cork. Covid-19 meant there would be no usual league titles handed out. Instead, smaller groups and straight knockout competitions would have to suffice.
Six age-grades, from U12 to U16, took part in schoolboys and schoolgirls competitions as well as in the Southern sections of the SFAI National Cups.
At schoolgirls level, the introduction of both U12 and U15 league and cup tournaments provided a welcome boost. Bantry Bay Rovers, Skibbereen, Castlelack and Drinagh Rangers took part in the U12 Schoolgirls League with the Bantry club finishing top of the table following a terrific battle with Skibbereen. The Baltimore Road club finished the year with a deserved trophy however, winning the U12 Schoolgirls Cup at the expense of Bay. Drinagh Rangers proved too strong for Castlelack in the U12 Schoolgirls Shield final.
Things were equally entertaining in the U15 schoolgirls’ grade with Drinagh Rangers finishing top of their group following victory over second-placed Riverside Rebels in the final game of the season. Bantry Bay Rovers, Castlelack and Bunratty United completed a five-club league that went from strength to strength during 2021.
Riverside Rebels did not end the year empty handed, as the Carbery Park club proved too strong for Bunratty United in the U15 Schoolgirls Cup final, winning 2-1 after extra-time.
The 2021 West Cork Schoolboys U12 age-grade was split into three groups. Lyre Rovers came out on top in Group 1, edging Drinagh Rangers into second place. Bunratty United, Clonakilty AFC and Skibbereen also took part in a competitive section. Dunmanway Town finished ahead of Bantry Bay Rovers, Inter Riverside and Beara United to earn first place in U12 Group 2. Castlelack edged Togher Celtic to capture top spot in U12 Premier Group 3. Ardfield Rovers and Real Riverside also contributed to an entertaining group. Lyre Rovers defeated Bantry Bay 2-0 to add the U12 Cup trophy to the club’s cabinet, while Skibbereen proved too strong for Ardfield, edging the latter 3-2 in the U12 Shield decider.
The WCSSL U13 Premier League was made up of three groups made up involving a total of 14 clubs. Dunmanway Town won U13 Group 1, thanks to an unblemished record of eight wins from eight to finish ahead of Bantry Bay Rovers, Skibbereen, Clonakilty AFC and Kilmichael Rovers. Skibbereen B proved equally dominant to win U13 Group 2. The Baltimore Road side won all but one of their league fixtures (a draw) to edge out Bunratty United, Ardfield and Riverside Athletic. In U13 Premier Group 3, winners Castlelack finished a point ahead of nearest rivals Beara United in a competition that also involved Bantry Bay Sparta and Togher Celtic. Dunmanway Town completed a U13 ‘double’ by defeating Bantry Bay Rovers 3-1 in the U13 Cup final. Kilmichael Rovers lifted the U13 Shield thanks to a 4-2 victory over Ardfield Rovers in the decider.
Two groups made up this year’s U14 Schoolboys Premier League. Six clubs competed in each section with Skibbereen emerging top of a Group 1 containing Lyre Rovers, Ardfield, Clonakilty AFC, Dunmanway Town and Bantry Bay Rovers. Kilmichael Rovers completed an unbeaten campaign to grab top spot in U14 Premier Group 2. Skibbereen B, Drinagh Rangers, Riverside Athletic, Castlelack and Sullane made up a quality line-up.
Skibbereen added the U14 Cup to their Premier League Group 1 triumph following a terrific 4-3 defeat of Lyre in a cracking final which went to extra-time. Drinagh Rangers edged out Ardfield 3-1 for the U14 Shield trophy.
Kilmichael Rovers proved worthy U15 Premier League Group 1 winners despite the best efforts of Skibbereen, Drinagh Rangers and Bunratty United. The same was true of Clonakilty AFC as the Ballyvackey club finished ahead of Togher Celtic, Sullane and Bantry Bay Rovers B in U15 Group 2. This season’s U15 Cup final went the way of Kilmichael Rovers who hit Togher Celtic for seven, in claiming the U15 Schoolboys Cup (7-2). Drinagh Rangers brought the U15 Shield back to Canon Crowley Park after a 3-1 defeat of Sullane in the decider.
Drinagh Rangers, Bunratty United, Ardfield, Sullane and Kilmichael Rovers contested the U16 Premier League with the former finishing in first place. Rangers added the U16 Cup trophy for good measure after knocking out Bunratty and Sullane before seeing off Ardfield in a one-sided cup final. It was fantastic to see so much West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League football played throughout a Covid affected season and hopefully, it will be more of the same in 2022.
The 2021 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League Roll of Honour is as follows:
U12 Schoolgirls League: Bantry Bay Rovers. U12 Schoolgirls Cup: Skibbereen. U12 Schoolgirls Shield: Drinagh Rangers.
U12 Premier League winners: Lyre Rovers (Group 1), Dunmanway Town (Group 2), Castlelack (Group3). U12 Cup: Lyre Rovers. U12 Shield: Skibbereen.
U13 Premier League winners: Dunmanway Town (Group 1), Skibbereen B (Group 2). U13 Cup: Dunmanway Town. U13 Shield: Kilmichael Rovers.
U14 Premier League winners: Skibbereen (Group 1), Kilmichael Rovers (Group 2). U14 Cup: Skibbereen. U14 Shield: Drinagh Rangers. U14 Plate: Castlelack.
U15 Schoolgirls League: Drinagh Rangers. U15 Schoolgirls Cup: Riverside Rebels.
U15 Premier League winners: Kilmichael Rovers (Group 1), Clonakilty AFC (Group 2). U15 Cup: Kilmichael Rovers. U15 Shield: Drinagh Rangers.
U16 Premier League winners: Drinagh Rangers. U16 Cup: Drinagh Rangers.