Meet the Wexford native spreading the ladies football gospel in Midleton 

Meet the Wexford native spreading the ladies football gospel in Midleton 
East Cork Ladies Football PRO and Midleton player Deirdre Kenny with Midleton captain Amy Quirke following last year's divisional junior A final victory over Watergrasshill.

EAST Cork Ladies’ Football PRO and Midleton player, Deirdre Kenny, has made a positive impression since moving to Cork and is looking forward to the resumption of games once the coronavirus outbreak has passed.

Midleton had been an emerging force in the highly competitive East Cork division, until Covid-19 halted all activities for the foreseeable future.

Ms Kenny was part of last season’s junior A success, having moved from her native Leinster three years before. Since then, the Stryker employee has become an important member of the Midleton club and of the East Cork division’s set-ups.

“I’m a bit of a blow-in myself, having only moved down to Cork about three-and-a-half years ago,” Kenny told the Echo.

“I am originally from Dublin, but spent most of my life in Wexford. I graduated with an engineering degree from DCU and moved down to Cork to work for Stryker, in Carrigtwohill.

“I hadn’t played football in over a year, because of college and needing to focus on finishing my degree. Ladies’ football is such a great way to make friends and socialise within the local community.

“I am on the Midleton GAA fund-raising committee and made some of my best friends within the club, through meetings and social activities,” Kenny said.

“They are a fantastic group of players, here in Midleton, and the same goes for the ladies’ football management team. They really made me feel like family, from the moment I joined.

“It made a huge difference, when I first moved to Cork, as I don’t have any family here. It made my transition all the smoother and I’m grateful to the club for that,” Kenny said.

The Midleton squad that won the 2019 East Cork junior A Ladies Football title and finished runners-up in the Cork junior B championship.
The Midleton squad that won the 2019 East Cork junior A Ladies Football title and finished runners-up in the Cork junior B championship.

When she first went through the Midleton GAA club gates, she realised she had entered ‘hurling country’.

Yet, a tradition of producing quality footballers, such as Orlagh Farmer, and growing numbers within the club’s underage ladies’ football ranks, helped Midleton enjoy a positive number of seasons, culminating in 2019’s East Cork junior A success.

“Moving to Cork, I didn’t realise how much hurling country Midleton was until I got here,” Kenny said.

“The ladies’ football had previously been quite strong, but they lost a few girls over the years, between people moving abroad and going off to do other things.

“As with any club, if you don’t have a senior team, then you struggle to hold on to the girls coming up from U16 and minor. We currently have a very young senior team, made up mostly of U21s, but they are improving all the time. We are very much looking forward to the future, because of them,” Kenny said.

“Midleton won last year’s East Cork junior A and were county B runners-up, so we were hoping to start strong, once again, this year, until the coronavirus outbreak. We are tipping away ourselves, but it is never the same as training together as a team,” Kenny said.

“Midleton, like every other club in East Cork and beyond, are missing it (ladies’ football), but we need to stay indoors to stop the virus spreading, so that’s what we will do.”

Midleton ladies football team celebrate winning the 2019 East Cork junior A title following victory over Watergrasshill in the decider.
Midleton ladies football team celebrate winning the 2019 East Cork junior A title following victory over Watergrasshill in the decider.

Every successful club needs a talisman; someone for the younger members to aspire to. Orlagh Farmer fits that criteria: she inspires the next generation of Midleton and Cork footballers. Deirdre Kenny acknowledges the positive effect multi-All Ireland-winning player Farmer has had on Midleton and the East Cork region.

“We are very lucky to have a role model like Orlagh Farmer in our club,” Kenny said.

“She is a fantastic player and role model, who does so much for ladies’ football, not just in the town. Orlagh comes to a lot of training sessions, as well as running our summer and Easters GAA camps. She has a very positive attitude and is very inclusive.

“Orlagh is a brilliant person to have around the club and instantly raises the level, whenever she attends a training session. To have someone of her ability and with so many All-Ireland medals — she has earned every single one of them — is fantastic to have in Midleton,” Kenny said.

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