CHAIRPERSON of the Cork City Women’s football committee Chris O’Mahony believes the number of young players leaving the club for America on college scholarships shows how strong their academy system has become.
By the same token, he is concerned it may also affect progress on the pitch.
Goalkeeper Maria O’Sullivan moved to Fordham University in New York in January while her potential replacement, Leah Hayes Coen, has committed to joining High Point University in North Carolina at the beginning of 2022.
Striker Lauren Egbuloniu has also committed to signing for Louisianna Tech University while midfielder Éabha O’Mahony will line out for Boston College from the end of this summer.
O’Mahony has seen all four players rise through the ranks at the club and while he is pleased for them personally, he is slightly concerned it may start a trend that could hamper his side’s results.
“It’s a great opportunity for them,” he said.
“Fair play for the girls to be at the level to be able to go there, we are just glad to have played a part in helping them reach that level.
“It’s great for them personally, but for us, we are losing some players which from a purely competitive football point of view isn’t ideal.
It’s what the girls want to do, it will be good for their education and hopefully their football as well.
“We have had players go over there in the past and you would be hoping if they do come home in the future that they would add something to the club again.
“We are definitely in the spotlight for this sort of thing at the moment because of the strength of our academy and also the way we are able to integrate young players into the senior team.
“The last two years we have had a really young senior team, but our points total and our final position in the league has improved.
“Colleges and coaches are looking at our club as a prime example of where you can get good, competitive, technically good players at the right age to go on a scholarship to the States.
“From a Cork City point of view, we want to develop players and this is a sign we are doing that fairly well.
“As long as our academy continues to grow, which it is, and our underage section continues to grow, which it will with the U19s being added, it will ensure we keep producing players to help us.
“Our long-term goal is that we are constantly competing for trophies. Losing players is never good, but it will give other players the opportunity to come in and do well.”