WILL Glanmire continue their rapid rise through ladies football ranks, or will Clonakilty put a halt to their gallop?
That’s the burning question as they clash in the Cork intermediate ladies football final at Kilmichael tomorrow.
Just two seasons ago Glanmire were a junior side, but won the county, Munster and All-Ireland titles that year (2018) to move up to the intermediate ranks.
Last year they were beaten in the semi-final of the intermediate championship but this season they have gone a step further and now hope to finish the job tomorrow.
But standing in their way is a quality Clonakilty side, who will go into this tie full of confidence after their semi-final win over Rosscarbery. Beating local rivals always feels good and to do so at this stage will see them travel to Kilmichael in top form. Likewise, Glanmire can travel in confident mood, especially after their win over Donoughmore in the semi-final.
Glanmire manager Philip Hogan said they are looking forward to the game, but like all, is disappointed their supporters can’t be there.
“There is a lot of people who have been putting in huge effort in the club for many years now. The club embarked on a 10-year plan and we are probably a year or so ahead of schedule and that’s down to a lot of hard work by committee members, managers and players.
“So it’s a pity they will have to watch at home online but the best way we can honour them is by winning, but that’s not something we are taking for granted in any way.
“Clon are a very good team and when we played them earlier it was the toughest game we had in the round-robin stages. But we will prepare in the same way as we always do and there will be no mention of that game. Whoever we are playing our preparations are the same and this has been the case ahead of the final tomorrow.
“We will be going down to give it everything and if we come off the pitch knowing that we couldn’t do anymore then we can be happy.
“It’s all about the squad and when we as selectors look around at the bench we know it’s like for like if we bring someone on. There is more to any team than the starters and I always look to Kilkenny in that regard.
“They always seem to finish the game stronger with the players they bring on and it shows just how important the squad is and that is the way we feel about this bunch of players. Every single one of them is important and vital to our chances of winning.
“In Abbie O’Mahony we have a great captain and one that leads by example on the pitch. She drives this side on and hopefully will be driving us on to victory tomorrow,” concluded Philip.
JJ Deasy, manager of Clon, has been involved with some of these players since they were U10s, and along with others, has played a major role in the development of the club.
He believes in the importance of keeping them playing as players develop at different ages and levels.
“A shy U12 corner-back can turn into a towering midfielder a few years later,” said JJ. “The most important thing for me is to keep them all playing and to be moving in the right direction. We have been doing that as much as we can and have had a bit of success with them along the way at underage level.
“We also now have a junior team and that is a huge boost for the club. We have a spattering of young players, some from the U16s and upwards, playing with them and the intermediate side.
“That progress has helped us reach this final and we are looking forward to the occasion. We have had a few battles with Glanmire over the years and no doubt it will be the same this time,” added JJ.
“The aim has been to establish ourselves as a team that others know won’t be easy to beat and one they will get a right game from. I think we have done that and reaching this final is a bonus. We will give it our best shot and see what happens.”
Clon and Cork keeper, Martina O’Brien, is one of a number of players who will be hoping to win a county medal with their club tomorrow, before then playing for divisional side West Cork in the senior final a week later.
Also on tomorrow is the junior final which sees Valley Rovers take on Douglas at Ballymah in Waterfall. Valleys had wins over the likes of Abhainn Dalla, Dromtariffe, Dohenys, and Naomh Aban to reach the final.
Douglas got the better of Dromtariffe, Abhainn Dalla, and Naomh Aban on their way to tomorrow’s decider.
Intermediate ladies football final: Glanmire v Clonakilty, Kilmichael, 5pm.
Junior A ladies football final: Douglas v Valley Rovers, Ballymah, Waterfall, 3pm.