Trailblazers Sullane are feeling just gr-eight!

February 26th, 2023 11:00 AM

By Ger McCarthy

The Sullane U12 schoolgirls' team that defeated Freebooters FC (Kilkenny) in the last 16 of the SFAI U12 National Cup.

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WEST Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League club Sullane’s remarkable SFAI U12 Schoolgirls National Cup odyssey continued with victory at home to Kilkenny club Freebooters AFC on Sunday.

The Ballyvourney club made history by becoming one of the last eight clubs – in the entire country – left in this season’s U12 Schoolgirls National Cup competition.

In their first season of existence, this hugely talented group of young footballers have surpassed all expectations and put West Cork schoolgirls league football on the national map. 

Irrespective of what happens from this point onwards, Sullane have written their names into the WCSSL history books. Who knows where this magical journey will end but for now, Sullane are amongst the elite schoolgirls clubs in the country with a national cup quarter-final to look forward to.

‘It was incredible stuff again in Coláiste Ghobnatan,’ Sullane’s Austin Twomey (along with co-coach Lorraine Burke) told The Southern Star following his young side’s 2-1 win over Freebooters.

‘Sullane deservedly won 2-1 against a fantastic Freebooters team from Kilkenny. There was a huge turnout for the game, both the travelling Kilkenny supporters and lots of people from Coolea, Ballyvourney and our local national schools.

‘Everyone is very excited about what happens next with the draw for the last eight. Home or away, bring it on!’


Both sides entered last weekend’s last 16 encounter on the back of terrific results during their respective cup runs. 

Freebooters AFC emerged from the always-competitive Leinster section and travelled to Bohemians Waterford in the last 32. The visitors emerged with a 3-2 win to set up a meeting with Sullane. 

The latter recorded a 4-0 national cup second round victory (Cork section) away to Fermoy thanks to Caroline Creedon, Grainne Ní Loinsigh, Isobelle O’Driscoll and Lily Scannell goals. 

A third round tie with Riverstown saw the home team register a 1-0 win in Ballyvourney. Aisling Kelleher scored the only goal to send Sullane into the national phase of the competition. 

Drawn away to Tipperary club Holycross, Sullane reserved their best display of the season to come away with a famous victory. Aisling Kelleher and Libby Scannell efforts saw the sides level 2-2 after extra-time. The West Cork club held their nerve to win a sudden-death penalty shootout and host Freebooters last Saturday.

The visitors got off to the best possible start with an opening goal after five minutes. Gráinne Lynch levelled from a spectacular 25-yard free-kick and it was 1-1 at the break.

Sullane goalkeeper Abbie Scanlon was called upon to make some important saves, as was her Freebooters counterpart, during a lively second half.

 Then, ten minutes from the end, Aisling Kelleher broke clear and reacted quickest to her parried shot. Kelleher netted the rebound to make it 2-1.

Freebooters threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser but Sullane’s defence held on for a famous 2-1 victory in front of a huge attendance. Lily Hoare was Sullane’s standout performer along with Abbie Scanlon, Gráinne Lynch and Aisling Kelleher. 

Sullane U12 Schoolgirls: Abbie Scanlon, Aisling Kelleher, Caroline Creedon, Caoimhe Mulhern, Danielle O’Donoghue, Eimear Carey, Emer Cronin, Eibhlin Ní Bhriain, Fiona Creedon, Gráinne Lynch, Isobel O’Driscoll, Lily Hoare, Lily Scannell, Muireann McSweeney, Rionach White, Shannon Ní Scannaill.

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