NEXT Sunday afternoon we kick off the Cork Women’s Senior League with Wilton United facing off against Riverstown in the 2019 Challenge Cup final in St Colman’s Park in Cobh.
This original fixture was cancelled back in September 2019 as both teams had completed their warm-ups in Turner's Cross but as rain lashed down during the schoolgirls final beforehand the Cork Women’s League had no other choice only to cancel the match.
This will be both side’s first competitive outing and this one is very difficult to call as with everything else Covid-19 has severely impacted on training. But I suppose after the early disappointment that there would be no league this season due to Covid, the league have to take huge credit for giving the players the opportunity to play at least two months football this season.
Wilton have signed a number of players for this season. The recruitment of Liz O’Connor from Cork City and the talented Emma O’Connor from Lakewood, along with the return of Cerys Johnson, who played for Wilton a few years before, meant they will be the team to beat yet again.
But the new signings will have to sit out this final, as only players who played with the clubs last season can play on Sunday. But Wilton should be strong with Zoe Murphy and Dee Callanan at the heart of the defence while Laura Lynch and Barbara O’Connell again lining out in midfield and they have the pace of Susan Edmunds up front. Their usual target women Melissa Finn is just after a child so it is not certain whether she will be available.
Riverstown will go into this final without fear as manager Michael O’Sullivan is a very experienced coach and he will have the girls well up for this final. In fairness to Mick he has put a huge amount of work into this excellent Riverstown side and in the past two years, he has more than his fair share of success.
They will again look to goalkeeper Claire O’Donoghue who is surely the top keeper in Cork at the moment. They also have Chloe Ahern at the heart of the defence while Charlie Moore will give the Glanmire side that bit of steel in the middle of the park. With very little between the sides, Emma Coughlan could make the difference as she is an excellent finisher.
As I said this final is a very difficult one to call and this could go all the way to extra time and maybe penalties to separate these two excellent and experienced sides. But one thing is for sure is that it should be an excellent game of football as both sides love to get the ball down and play some free-flowing football.