FLEDGLING club Kilworth LGFA is ready to join the ranks of the Cork ladies Gaelic football community.
Based in the East Cork division, this will be the first time Kilworth has ever fielded a ladies football team.
The club held its inaugural meeting last February. Since then, it has taken a huge community effort just to get Kilworth off the ground, let alone competing in the Cork LGFA, something club chairperson Joe Aherne is quick to point out.
“I am chairperson but Laura Sheehan, who lives in the village and would have previously played with Fermoy, is the one who instigated this project,” Aherne told The Echo.
“Laura drove it all right from the start and then another Kilworth man, Gary Harrington, who was coach of a Fermoy team also came on board. Laura along with the Harrington and Sheehan families are the ones who got things going.”
Aherne’s sporting background revolves around soccer having played Munster Senior League with Fermoy and also represented the Defence Forces.
His local pub is synonymous with supporting Kilworth GAA and he was previously involved with the Kilworth hurlers as a trainer back in the early 1990s.
Now, a new ladies football club is about to become a reality, hot on the heels of Joe’s son, Joe junior, helping get Kilworth camogie club up and running a couple of years ago.
“There is a big population increase in and around the Kilworth area with a lot of new houses built over the past few years,” Joe Aherne said.
“A lot of young girls and women are now living in the area. In fairness to Laura, she saw an opening and got her family and friends to help her get a new ladies football club going.
“Obviously, when our new club was being put together, we first had to approach the local Kilworth GAA club.
“I have to say, from day one, we got their full support and chairman of the club, Liam Kenny, has been brilliant to us.
“This year, the plan is to field a Kilworth ladies football team at junior level only. Obviously, you have to build an underage structure to sustain any club’s future.
“So, the goal, next year and, depending on numbers, is to set up Kilworth underage girls teams. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us to achieve that, but then the committee has already put in a huge effort to get the club started.
“Anything is possible once you have the support of your community. We have seen that firsthand.”
Kilworth will have approximately 25 players to call upon for their first season competing in the Cork LGFA. Gary Harrington, Pat O’Brien, Michael Donnellan and PJ Kenny are the club’s first management team.
Another vital commodity when it comes to starting any new sport club is sponsorship.
Once again Kilworth LGFA is fortunate to have gained plenty of support from local businesses.
“We are delighted that Jason O’Sullivan of Centra Kilworth has sponsored our club’s first set of jerseys,” Aherne commented.
“The Credit Union in Fermoy presented us with a cheque for €500 and Mike Walsh, another Kilworth man, and a Pharmacist in Fermoy sponsored our first-aid kit bag which we greatly appreciate.
“I have to say that the East Cork LGFA board welcomed us with open arms too.
“In the immediate term, all we want to do is get out on the pitch and play our first game, which will be against Killavullen in a couple of weeks time. That’s going to be a landmark moment, not just for the players, but for everyone involved in setting up Kilworth LGFA.”
In all, it has taken approximately 25 people to come together, devise a plan and achieve the goal of creating Kilworth ladies football club.
The club has already managed to assign chairperson, vice-chairperson, two secretaries, two treasurers, PROs, registrars, child welfare officer, cultural officer, development officer, delegate club roles. All that before a ball is even kicked.
It shows the level of interest and passion for ladies football in Kilworth. All that’s left is the junior team to take the field against Killavullen and create another piece of history.