CORK U14 ladies football manager Lisa Walsh is hoping a fresh of trials will produce another quality inter-county squad for the 2021 campaign.
The Cork LGFA U14 management team, led by Lisa Walsh, are finalising plans to begin a fresh set of trials for any girls wishing to represent the county panel in the coming year.
Only two U14 divisional trials were completed last November due to Covid-19 restrictions. Unsurprisingly, Walsh and her fellow management team members are eager to get the ball rolling once again. Dates and times for upcoming U14 LGFA trials remain unconfirmed until details of the HSE and the government’s safe return to sport for children (after April 26) are signed off. The Cork U14 management team has decided to restart their trials from scratch given the lapse in time since previously kicking off the process in late 2020.
“We started U14 trials with the North and Mid Cork Divisions last November,” Walsh told the Echo.
“We felt the lapse in time was too much since then so have decided to start our trials all over again. Back then, we had a conveyor belt of 30 players arriving and leaving for trials at a time. Obviously, similar covid-19 restrictions and safeguards will come into play once again whenever we are cleared to start.
“The hope is that we can get back training sometime in May or June. Five months have passed since our previous set of trials but there was huge interest back then. We assume the interest will be the same this time around plus the prospect of even more girls looking to attend following the latest round of lockdowns.”
A similar format - trial matches in each of the county’s divisions - remains in place but will only go ahead when deemed safe to do so.
Any player attending will have two opportunities to impress Cork’s U14 coaches as there will be two sets of trials in each division.
Successful candidates will be invited back to get involved in the next stage of the trial process.
Every U14 LGFA inter-county set up in the country faces a tight timeline to finalise their respective panels over the coming weeks and months. Cork have asked their clubs to nominate players born in the year 2007 and who they deem is of inter-county standard.
“Everyone involved with the Cork U14 setup is hoping for the best outcome over the coming weeks,” Walsh added.
“Girls lost out big time last year. This year, timeframes will be a lot tighter so if anything does go ahead, we expect competitions to be run off quite quickly.
“We would imagine the Munster provincial U14 championships would have to be run over two or three weekends. No one knows what is happening just yet though, so we will wait for word from Munster LGFA as to if or when they get the all-clear to organise their competitions.
“Right now, our sole focus is on organising trials for the U14 inter-county panel and running those in the safest manner possible.
We are conscious of the fact that we will be looking at girls who have never played inter-county football before. Obviously, they will be quite nervous attending their first set of trials.
"What we are hoping to do is speak to everyone ahead of the trials to reassure them of what’s expected.
“Unfortunately, it looks like there may not be any summer LGFA development programmes this year. Hopefully, by 2022, our development programmes, which prove popular each year, will be back in place once again. Those summer development programmes deliver quality training sessions to girls from all over the county and demonstrate what it might be like to trial for Cork at inter-county level sometime in their future.”
Optimism is growing for a safe return to ladies inter-county football training and matches with each passing day. Clubs were asked to return the necessary paperwork for any nominated U14 player before Monday, April 5.
Lisa Walsh and her Cork U14 LGFA management team has missed the on-field interaction as much as their players. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see the famous red Cork jersey competing at U14 LGFA provincial and All-Ireland series level once again.