Mallow ladies football club developing a talent pool in the north Cork area

Mallow ladies football club developing a talent pool in the north Cork area
Mallow ladies football club, the U14 North Cork winners last season.

MALLOW Ladies GAA Club have been on a steady upward trajectory since their formation back in 2007.

The GAA club has proved to be an example to local areas that would be considering setting up a new sporting club thanks to a professional approach that has seen Mallow ladies go from strength to strength, on and off the pitch.

The early days saw plenty of administrative work undertaken with a mountain of behind the scenes effort required to keep this substantial show on the road.

Right from the off, the founding officers, chairperson Lar Luddy, secretary Mary Sheehan, Kieran Murphy, Connie O’Halloran, Deirdre O’Neill and Life President is Kathleen O’Malley had their work cut out for them as they attempted to build a club from scratch in an area that was far from short when it came to activities for kids and sporty adults. 

Credit to the local trendsetters they left no stone unturned as they developed and nurtured some really talented young girls along the way.

Mallow is obviously a large urbanized area so on that front one would think that setting up a club would be a simple enough task and while having the numbers on your door does help somewhat it is a different proposition to keep a newly formed club growing when there are now so many distractions around looking to draw the young members away.

All that said, MLFC continues to impress with increasing numbers and a seemingly never-ending supply of people prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel in an attempt to grow one of the best sporting clubs in the area.

In recent weeks MLFC have again shown that they are an integral part of the local community after being active in fundraising for charities such as Pieta House with a novel 300km Social Distance Digital Relay.

The club had over 50 members taking in the challenge and covered 366km them while remaining in isolation to support the national fundraising effort.

The club also raised funds for Mallow Search and rescue in 2019 and donated a substantial amount to another important local charity.

Last week’s fundraiser, as well as a host of other activities undertaken by the club over the seasons are more examples of just how important the MLFC gave become to the locality and to the almost 200 active playing members that call the club their own.

In Cork GAA circles, young girls have plenty role models to follow - from Briege Corkery to Bríd Stack, from Rena Buckley to Valerie Mulcahy and just out the road from Mallow the all-conquering Doireann and Ciara O’Sullivan, hold court so for the young girls in one of Cork’s largest towns there is no shortage of players to look up to.

In the past players like Jenny Luddy, All Ireland winner Karen O’Halloran, Erica O’Connell (U16 All-Ireland winner) and Sophie Moloney all did well for the club however, these days, the young club has plenty new blood making waves of their own on the county scene with players of the quality of Shauna Ludgate, Grace and Eabha Nagle all playing underage for the county.

There is little doubt that Mallow GAA was a little late to the game in the area of ladies football but they have been making up for that in recent times and last season the club, which up to 2019 were fielding girls teams from U8 all the way up to minor and junior, was able to claim the U12 County Championship while their junior side won the County League while also making it to the Junior County Final.

Mallow 2019 U16 North Cork Winners
Mallow 2019 U16 North Cork Winners

Prior to last year’s successes the club has seen plenty other underage successes over the last decade with all of the underage sides battling well against their peers with county titles arriving up to Carrigoon on a seemingly never-ending basis.

Prior to the Covid-19 shutdown, Mallow had already began signing up members for the season ahead with 190 committing to the club straight off the bat.

The strong numbers led to Mallow entering their first ever U21 side which is yet more progression for a club that now have sides competing at every available age bracket.

Aside from all the on field exploits, it is fair to say that this club is very much a family off the field and with its very proactive, positive and when needs must pushy committee members prepared to do what it takes to get the job done, they continues to push the envelope as it competes in what is fast becoming a very crowded sporting market.

Ladies football, particularly in Cork, has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.

From a poor base, back in the 90s, the game has gone from strength to strength in recent times, thanks in part to the success of the county’s senior inter-county side on the national stage but more importantly thanks to the efforts of local men and women in clubs up and down the country’s largest and most successful sporting county.

Mallow Ladies Football Club is just another piece in what is a very impressive Cork ladies football GAA jigsaw and if Cork are to continue producing All-Ireland winning sides then the county needs more and more clubs like Mallow to continue the conveyor belt of talent that can bring the game on to an even higher level than we are witnessing today.

What the future holds for this dynamic club is not clear yet but it would be a brave punter to back against Mallow Ladies Football Club one day becoming one of the powerhouses of the game locally - which in turn should lead on to success further afield.

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