The Paudie Palmer column: Valley Rovers ladies footballer finally delivered 

The Paudie Palmer column: Valley Rovers ladies footballer finally delivered 

Michelle O'Regan, Valley Rovers, clears from Muiread Mulroney, Douglas, in the Junior A Ladies Football final at Ballymah. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

ON Saturday evening, the Valley Rovers ladies’ footballers were trying to shake off their tendency to come up short in county finals.

Their opponents were Douglas, who had defeated them in a group game earlier on.

From the first whistle, it was clear that this was going to be Valley Rovers’ day.

The scoreline, of 2-17 to 2-3 in Valley Rovers’ favour, mighty not have done justice to the young city team, Douglas, but for the Innishannon team, it reflected how all their strategies worked out.

It was a collaborative Valley Rovers performance, with each team member contributing.

If we have to single out a few players, the dedicated team captain, Michelle O’Regan, who scored 1-7, was noteworthy.

The fulcrum, on this occasion, was the half-forward line, made up of the Kiely twins, as they are now universally known around these parts, and the youthful Orla O’Sullivan.

In the big games, teams depend more on their county representatives, both to play well and to lead by example.

In short, if they don’t play to their maximum, it can create self-doubt among their team-mates. On Saturday, Daire and Emer Kiely were not found wanting. They played well and encouraged the others.

Female sports teams and clubs tend not to have the same management and coaching resources as their male equivalents.

So, Denis Kiely, father of the twins, has been busy fostering a love of the sport among this group.

Mary Cremin, Denis Mulvihill, and Eoghan Delaney are also valued members of the support team.

In relation to ladies’ football, I was under the impression that a similar situation would prevail in provincial and All-Ireland competitions, in that there would be none in 2020.

However, I was wrong, and, in October, Munster club championships will be played.

As to how that fits in with the All-Ireland inter-county championship, I am somewhat unsure.

 Harry Harvey, Cork LGFA presented Michelle O'Regan, Valley Rovers, with the Cup against beating Douglas last weekend. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Harry Harvey, Cork LGFA presented Michelle O'Regan, Valley Rovers, with the Cup against beating Douglas last weekend. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Last weekend, round three of the four county football championships was completed, and again there was some serious entertainment for those of us watching from the empty stands.

Our first mention will feature the Premier Intermediate grade. Prior to 4pm Saturday, many observers of this championship would have been of the opinion that the two best teams were in the same group, namely Cill na Martra and Knocknagree.

When news filtered through that the John Fintan Daly-coached outfit had suffered a major systems failure, going down by 19 points, the Duhallow side’s goose appeared to well and truly cooked.

The other game in the group featured Naomh Abán and St Vincent’s, with the expectation that the Gaeltacht team would emerge with the laurels.

With three minutes remaining, the Ballyvourney representatives led by a point. Then, the Murphys, father JP and son Blake, became the toast of Knocknagree.

Firstly, JP kicked the equaliser and then Blake landed a winner. Almost immediately, the après-championship party being planned by some within John Fintan Daly’s ambushed army had to be cancelled: Knocknagree were back in business.

If it happens that this Duhallow team go on and win the championship — and don’t rule it out — I would suggest that the freedom of their little village be conferred on the father-and-son pairing from the northside club.

I wish that I could remain positive about north city Gaelic football, but, sadly, the evidence from the three rounds of the four county championships would suggest that all is not well.

Putting it bluntly, except for the aforementioned St Vincent’s winning one of their three matches, St Nick’s, Na Piarsaigh, and Mayfield lost all of their three.

As mentioned previously, there are mighty people in these clubs, who are doing their best to promote Gaelic football, but, unfortunately, there are not enough of them.

I honestly believe that the time has arrived when outside help may be required and when I mention outside help, I am referring to inputs, if that is possible, from games development administrators, directors of football, and so on.

I take no pleasure whatsoever in highlighting this major deficit in Cork City’s Gaelic football landscape.

The sincere hope is that, in the not-too-distant future, clubs from this district will be higher up the football food chain than is currently the case.

In group three in the Premier Intermediate Football Championship, Nemo Rangers, Kanturk, and Macroom all ended on four points, but the mid-Cork team lost out on scoring difference: Nemo (+10), Kanturk (+8), and Macroom (+5). Talk about tight margins.

This new championship format has thrown up a few anomalies, but the good people of Kiskeam will not be impressed with their distinction: They were the only team that topped their group going into round three with four points who didn’t qualify for the knockout stages.

Having defeated Mallow and Bantry in the opening rounds, they came a cropper on Sunday, when a Daniel Goulding-inspired Éire Óg defeated them by six points. As another matter of interest, 17 teams finished on four points, which was good enough for 15 of them to reach the quarter-final.

To add a further bit of spice to an anomalous pie, Bandon reached the promised land on three points. What a system.

Another that will harbour regrets about the season is the Bishopstown premier senior team.

With 10 minutes remaining against Valley Rovers, they led by two points, but a second yellow meant that they had to play the remainder of the game with 14 men.

The Valley added three points, which resulted in a one-point victory. Ilen Rovers, who were shown no mercy by Castlehaven’s ambition to secure the one available semi-final spot, were ‘assured’ of a place in the relegation final, but who would join them?

Both Bishopstown and Carrigaline finished pointless and on the same points difference of -23, so it went to points scored during their three games and the west city side lost out, 32 points to 29.

Undoubtedly, every score counts.

Contact: twitter: @paudiep

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