WEST Cork are enjoying a terrific Cork Ladies SFC campaign following three consecutive victories with the region’s players also making an impact at inter-county level.
It’s been a productive 2017 for ladies football in West Cork with the region’s divisional side safely negotiating their three opening Cork SFC group matches and progressing to the knockout stages of the championship.
Brian McCarthy’s side most recent outing, a 4-6 to 1-12 defeat of St Val’s in Rosscarbery, underlined the quality and depth of the squad. Securing top spot in the group despite the absence of a host of regular starters including Kinsale’s Orla Finn, West Cork produced an impressive performance against an equally talented St Val’s to maintain their 100 percent record.
In the aforementioned Finn’s absence (she scored 0-5 for Cork just two days before in a victory over Monaghan), Áine Terry O’Sullivan stepped up to the plate and contributed 2-1 on an evening her Beara teammates Clare O’Shea and Niamh Terry O’Sullivan also made their presence felt.
Host club Rosscarbery were well represented by defender Cliona Maguire and Áine Hayes while Clonakilty’s Ciara Ryan, Clare O’Leary and Juanita Brennan also played their part in a hard-earned win. Dohneys’ Melissa Duggan anchored the half-back line superbly and O’Donovan Rossa’s Laura O’Mahony came off the bench at half time to score a fine goal.
Yet, it was Cork and Clonakilty goalkeeper Martina O’Brien who made one of the biggest impacts on her divisional side’s latest championship win. Making a succession of important stops, O’Brien repeatedly denied St Val’s a goal in either half, ensuring West Cork saw out the final quarter to claim a three-point victory.
Sadhbh O’Leary gave a St Val’s defence, including Bríd Stack a torrid evening, linking well with her fellow forwards and setting up a host of scores throughout the hour. The Kinsale star was one of many players just two days removed from having represented Cork in Tullamore as the Rebel county claimed a third consecutive All-Ireland Minor title.
O’Leary was in scintillating form, netting a brace of goals and dovetailing brilliantly with Nemo Rangers full forward Saoirse Noonan to score all but four points of Cork’ 5-11 total.
John Cleary’s squad were deserving winners in a game West Cork was well represented by Clare O’Shea (Beara), Nicole Quinn (Bandon), Laura O’Mahony (O’Donovan Rossa), Rachel Murphy (Bantry Blues), Sadhbh O’Leary (Kinsale) and Ciara Ryan (Clonakilty). On the same day, Ephie Fitzgerald’s seniors had to dig deep to overcome Monaghan to setup today’s meeting with Galway.