NORTH Cork club Araglen Desmonds Buí are looking forward to the 2021 Cork LGFA intermediate club championship and building on their vibrant underage structure.
Drawn from the Ballydesmond, Kiskeam and Boherbue localities, Araglen Desmonds Buí is catering for an increasing number of football enthusiasts with each passing season.
Araglen ladies football is seven years old since all three clubs from the aforementioned parishes came together under the one banner.
Cork senior inter-county star, Shauna Kelly, is one of Araglan Desmonds Buí’s best-known players and has always been a terrific ambassador for the club.
“We field teams from U6 all the way up to intermediate,” Araglen Desmonds Buí club Chairman and intermediate team trainer John Sheahan told The Echo.
“In terms of playing numbers we have over 150 lining out across all the various age grades.
“We are fortunate to have the use of Ballydesmond, Kiskeam or Boherbue’s pitches when it comes to the adult team’s training. To be fair, the men’s clubs in all three areas never see us stuck for the use of a facility whenever we need it.”
Keeping a ladies football team going is a difficult enough task at the best of times so how does Araglen Desmonds Buí facilitate players from three different parishes?
“Thankfully, things are working very well (in the club),” John Sheahan said.
“Yes, we have to move things around between pitches but everybody helps out and gets involved. Araglen are lucky to have so many people willing to help out on the coaching side of things too.
“That’s hugely important in any club but especially ours.”
Clearly whatever methodology Araglen is utilising is working. Decent numbers at underage level plus a talented adult team bodes well for the North Cork side’s immediate and long term future.
Last year, Araglen Desmonds Buí was unfortunate to be drawn in a Cork LGFA IFC county championship group with Glanmire and Clonakilty.
The latter went on to become intermediate county champions, defeating Glanmire in the decider.
Despite that setback, Araglen’s players are looking forward to another crack at the intermediate championship later this year.
“Our girls put in two commendable performances in last year’s intermediate championship but unfortunately Glanmire and Clonakilty were just that bit stronger than us,” Sheahan stated.
“That showed when both of those teams went on to contest the county final. Everyone is looking forward to this year’s championship now though and hopefully, the draw won’t be as tough as last year’s!
“Looking ahead and trying to be realistic about it, Araglen Desmonds Buí will be anxious to get out of our group and reach a county semi-final. Anything can happen from there but we still don’t know who we will be playing in the championship just yet.
“Like every other club, dealing with all the lockdowns has been tough. We, the coaches, have kept the players going by giving them exercises and various other skills they were able to practice at home by themselves. Keeping the players active was the main thing until we got back out onto the pitches again.”
Araglen’s youngest club members compete in the Duhallow division up to the U12 age grade. After that, U14, U16 and minor squads take part in North Cork divisional competitions.
“We play a lot of stronger clubs with bigger numbers than ourselves in North Cork like Mourneabbey and Kilshannig,” the Araglen Desmonds Buí Chairman said.
Ourselves and the other Duhallow clubs would be close enough in terms of quality and that leads to plenty of competitive underage matches which is great for the girls.
“There are always plenty of parents to help out when it comes to coaching too. There are over 30 non-playing club members registered and everyone helps out at each of the age grades.
“We are also indebted to our main club sponsors Boherbue Co-Op and another company, Ingredient Solutions, who donated a set of jerseys last year.”