THE West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League Academy U12 and U16 girls’ teams kicked off the new season of SFAI competitions recently.
West Cork U12s travelled to Killarney for a Group C meeting with Kerry, and an additional game for players born in 2011 against the same opponents.
Even though the visitors lost both encounters, Kerry needed late goals in each game to see off West Cork. Most of the West Cork players were taking part in a competitive fixture for the first time and gave a terrific account of themselves, as Kerry scored two late goals in a 3-0 win.
A second U12 game played immediately afterwards was level, 1-1, heading into the closing stages. Anna Carey found the net for West Cork before Kerry added three more goals to put an unfair gloss on the final score.
‘We are at a bit of a disadvantage in that we are in the off-season so the (U12) girls would have been a little bit rusty,’ U12 coach DJ Curtin said.
‘At least we are back playing and it is good for the girls to have a game completed and being back out on a pitch in a competitive fixture will do them the power of good.’
Next up for the West Cork U12s is a home fixture against Clare on the weekend of March 26th/27th.
The West Cork U12 squad includes Ella Hillard, Charlotte O’Callaghan, Erin Coomey, Rosie O’Donovan, Niamh Harrington, Emily Drinan, Amy Salter, Alison Kelleher, Natalie Morrissey, Naomi Hayes. Kate Whelton, Keelin Gough, Clodagh O’Driscoll, Nadine Alsaadi, Aoibhínn Rice, Aoibhínn O’Donovan, Saoirse O’Donovan, Sally McAuley, Anna Carey, Jane Walsh, Aoife Bradfield, Emma Kennefick, Eila O’Neill and Katelyn Desmond.
Also on the same weekend, West Cork’s U16 schoolgirls welcomed Limerick County to Canon Crowley Park, Drinagh, for a SFAI Munster U16 Inter-League Group D fixture. While Limerick won 4-0, West Cork can be proud of their efforts, playing in the region’s first-ever SFAI inter-league competition.
West Cork U16’s next group fixture is another home tie against the Kerry Schoolgirls League on March 26th/27th. Cork will be the WCSSL’s final Group D opponents on the weekend of April 16th/17th.
‘Our match with Limerick County was all about finding our feet at inter-league level,’ West Cork coach Mike Burgoyne said.
‘We were forced into a couple of early changes because of injury and that upset our rhythm a bit. Our squad is small in numbers but even though things went against us at the start, the girls should be very proud of their efforts.’
The West Cork U16 squad includes Monica Craig, Abby Sheehan, Aisling O’Sullivan, Lucy Nolan, Ruth Connell, Mia Boucher, Grace McCarthy, Emma Hurley, Saoirse O’Sullivan, Aoibheann O’Driscoll, Lucy Hurley, Niamh Collins, Grace Murphy, Caoimhe Hurley, Lauren Connell and Niamh Wiseman.