Cork girls ready for Gaynor Cup

Cork girls ready for Gaynor Cup

The Cork U16 Gaynor Cup team that will head to Limerick in two weeks time.

ROY Keane may have made it one of the most famous throwaway quotes of all time.

'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail...' is the one I'm talking about and as the Cork CWSSL U16 Gaynor Cup team headed to Limerick on Wednesday night it's the one thing that couldn't be thrown at their coach Sarah Healy.

To say her preparations weren't thorough would be the understatement of the year.

The Midleton lady has left no stone unturned as she prepares her Cork team for the U16 Gaynor Cup which will see her team play three games against Mayo, Longford, North Tipp and Wexford in their group.

Their first game kicks off at 11.30am on Thursday against Mayo in the University of Limerick. 

This, as all games will be a tough test but one in which Healy hopes can be a positive start of Cork's Gaynor Cup run.

"Heading into the Gaynor tournament I expect a really tough challenge but one in which we are all looking forward to. Our first game is tomorrow against Mayo and I have no doubt this will be a tough challenge however we are ready and as prepared as we can be. I think all the groups are tough groups, and our group is no different. I expect every game we play in the group will be challenging but I do also expect us to be able to compete in every game as we have prepared for these during training and each practice game."

Having played four friendlies over the past few weeks as preparation for the Gaynor, Healy and her management squad are satisfied that they have done everything they could in order to give the girls the best possible chance of competing in this weeks tournament.

"Preparations have gone very well. We have been training and preparing for the past seven weeks which has gone really well for us. We have increased training to twice a week, played a couple of challenge games and even had a nutritionist talk to the players about their diet, hydration, and sleep.

"We picked the final squad after we played in the Viking tournament in April and this was an extremely difficult thing to do. We had to go from 33 players down to 20 players after a very successful tournament and every player played fantastically and it was a massive headache for myself and the other coaches to then pick 20 players. However, we are very pleased with our final squad and we hope they can play to the best of their ability.

Healy has chosen a squad of players who tick all the boxes. Talented, versatile, skillful, physical - and all with a great determination to succeed.

"I would say the biggest strength we have as a team is the versatility of the squad, each player is very adaptable to different formations, style of play and positions. In the squad, we have technically talented players, players with great game intelligence and players with physical strengths. 

"The attitude has been fantastic, the squad has a positive mindset which is great for us as coaches to see. The players have shown great coachability and willingness to learn each week and it is quite obvious that the game is their passion."

The Gaynor tournament this year is set in a new format where teams will stay for four nights. 

For many of the Cork girls, this is a whole new experience. Apart from the football side of things, these girls now face a few nights away from home, staying in unfamiliar territory, however, having spoken to girls who did this in previous years and had been nervous in doing so - it turned out to be one of the best experiences of their lives. 

For Healy and her management getting the balance of keeping the girls happy off the pitch as well as on the pitch, is a massive priority for all involved.

"Heading to the Gaynor for four nights is a big ask of the players in the sense that for some, it will be a first time away from home without family. 

"I would definitely say being away from home will probably be the biggest thing the players will have to deal with, they will be staying in an unfamiliar environment and this will also be for a longer time this year than to previous years. But fortunately for us, we have players with previous Gaynor Cup experience and I feel this will help us as a squad over the tournament.

"Aswell as the players, our coaches have plenty of Gaynor Cup experience. Jake Robinson, Mick Collins and Chelsea Noonan all have previously coached Cork Gaynor teams and I am very privileged to have them on board with the squad this season. My last experience in Gaynor was in 2013, Mick Collins was manager then and I coached with him we had an U14 squad and we managed to get all the way to the final and lose out on penalties. 

"That year and the experience helped me to become the coach I am today. I learned so much from that year on how to manage/coach a team at the Gaynor. This is my first year managing a team at Gaynor, so if I’m lucky enough to manage again next year I might look back on this year and potentially do things differently next time around.

"However, between us, over the years coaching, we have dealt with success and disappoint at Gaynor and will be able to share these experience with us in order to avoid disappointment and reach success. 

"We also bring a different voice/view to each training/game and help keep them fresh and interesting for the players. I think as a team of coaches we work really well together and we are all very excited for this year Gaynor Cup experience."

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