CORK put the seal on a successful 2021 Munster LGFA minor A championship campaign with victory over Tipperary at Mallow recently.
Joe Carroll’s side defeated Tipp 5-12 to 1-7 and claimed the Munster minor trophy by playing an attractive brand of football that pleased their manager and watching supporters.
“We got there in the end even though it was a difficult year. We put up with it and trained on Wednesdays and Saturdays before producing a very good performance in the final which was very pleasing,” Carroll told.
“As well as winning, the girls played extremely well and played some very good football. I think that anyone who was at that game was happy with the way Cork played.
"We did a good share of kicking against Tipperary. Maybe it is a small bit easier at minor level because you don’t face mass defences but, at the same, if you can get the ball up the field good and quick, you can stop mass defences happening.
“It worked well for us, we got a lot of good scores and there was a lot pace involved in it. Hopefully, the players will learn from it and transfer those skills to their future careers.”
What a shame then, following such an inspiring Munster minor final victory, that Carroll and his Cork panel have no All-Ireland LGFA semi-final or final to look forward to in 2021.
Unlike their camogie, male minor and U20 GAA counterparts, a decision taken by the LGFA not to run any further underage competitions beyond the provincial stage still rankles.
“The LGFA’s decision is hugely, hugely disappointing,” the Cork minor manager said.
“When you see the footballing talent that was on view in the Munster final, those players should be allowed to test themselves in an All-Ireland semi-final.
“Galway have won the Connacht minor title and Meath have won the Leinster championship. We played both of those teams in challenges and they were both close games.
“I’m not saying that Cork was going to win an All-Ireland minor series this year but our, Galway, Meath and the Ulster champions players deserve the opportunity to at least contest it.
“Cork has four dual players in our minor football panel this year and they were absolutely delighted to have reached an All-Ireland minor final after beating Dublin.
This year is the Munster champions last chance to play inter-county before (automatically) becoming senior as you don’t have any additional grades in ladies football beyond minor.
“If there was any way at all that the LGFA could reconsider their decision, they should,” Carroll added.
“So, I’m calling on the remaining counties to make a plea to Croke Park to get an All-Ireland minor series played off, even if it is much later in the year after the club championships.
“It is only three games, why not play them all off on the one day?”
“We want to play in an All-Ireland series simply because of all the effort the squad has put in this year,” added Cork LGFA minor captain Orlaith Roche.
“Last year was hard going because of Covid so not being able to go out and play for an All-Ireland is tough on everybody. We worked really hard for this Munster title.
“It was even more joyful than usual simply because we had so little time to prepare for it.
“As for being captain of this group of Cork players, they were all behind me. We pushed each other on and I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch to be captain of. It feels nice to have done my club, family and county proud.”