Dohenys v Castlehaven: Junior A final serves up a cracking West Cork derby

A big crowd is expected in CIT next Saturday for the Cork LGFA decider
Dohenys v Castlehaven: Junior A final serves up a cracking West Cork derby

The Dohenys squad that will take on Castlehaven in this Saturday's Cork LGFA Junior A county final at CIT.

A WEST Cork derby between Castlehaven and Dohenys should attract a sizeable attendance to next Saturday’s Cork LGFA Junior A county final at CIT.

Two teams that know each other well from previous meetings over the past few years are set to engage in an eagerly anticipated JAFC final next weekend.

The stakes couldn’t be higher as a Castlehaven outfit chasing their third consecutive county triumph face a Dohenys side that only missed out on a potential crack at last year’s junior A title on points difference.

Both teams are packed with attacking talent and emerged as the top two clubs in this year’s junior A grade following a string of impressive displays.

All the momentum is with Castlehaven who won last season’s junior B county title having annexed the junior C county the campaign before.

The Haven’s undefeated path to the 2021 junior A decider underlines the attacking weaponry within manager Dinny Cahalane’s setup.

The Haven overcame Naomh Abán 3-14 to 2-6 and Abhainn Dalla 7-16 to 2-5 in their first two championship outings. A 0-13 to 0-7 defeat of Douglas underlined Castlehaven’s credentials prior to a 4-16 to 3-6 win over county final opponents Dohenys. Both teams were short a number of regular starters that afternoon but the Castlehaven juggernaut continued unabated with a 2-6 to 0-4 semi-final win over Douglas amid atrocious weather conditions.

“Our experience of previous county finals will be important,” Castlehaven captain Siobhan Courtney admitted.

We have a few new players with us this year and this will be a new experience for them. The last few years, we have been in county finals and know what it is like. It is important to enjoy that build-up as well.

“Everyone is enjoying seeing all the blue and white colours around the parish. We have been getting ourselves organised and getting our mindset right. The past few years will stand to us in this situation.” 

Mairead O’Driscoll is enjoying a phenomenal year and she, along with Rachel Whelton, Hannah Sheehy, Katie Cronin, Shelly Daly and Sarah O’Donovan will be pivotal to the Haven’s chances of success.

Dohenys are back in another Cork LGFA county final after the devastation of missing out on the knockout stages of the previous year’s junior A championship on points difference. The West Cork side made sure that there would be no mathematical issues in 2021.

Tony White’s side accounted for Douglas, 3-7 to 0-6, in their championship opener and built on that success. Abhainn Dalla (1-15 to 1-2) and Naomh Abán (2-8 to 0-7) were seen off in consecutive outings and those results cemented a semi-final berth. Their only championship loss, to Castlehaven, occurred with a number of first-team regulars absent. Naomh Abán travelled to Dunmanway in the semi-finals but a determined Dohenys registered a 3-4 to 0-9 win in awful weather conditions.

“It is great to be back in another county final,” Dohenys captain Aprille Duggan said.

“Last year was our first time up in junior A and we were disappointed not to reach the semi-finals. We were one of the top three ranked teams in our group but ended up missing out on the semi-finals on points difference.

“So, to reach this year’s county final is fantastic for the club.

Playing Castlehaven, they are our West Cork rivals, so it is going to be another great game and another massive battle.” 

The Dunmanway club have overcome adversity in the recent past, shaking off three consecutive county final losses before defeating Midleton in the 2019 junior B county decider.

Dohenys respect but will not fear taking on their great West Cork rivals next weekend. Cork senior Melissa Duggan is the Dunmanway club’s household name but this is far from a one-player team. Martina Collins, Sinead O’Connell, Noelle O’Mahony, Caroline O’Mahony, Mairead Crowley, Katelyn Sheehan and Laurie Hayes are just some of the Dohenys squad that have impressed since the first week of the county championship.

So, two West Cork clubs experiencing upward trajectories meet in a Cork LGFA junior A county final with promotion to the intermediate ranks on offer to the winners.

Their previous county championship meeting counts for little as both teams were already through to the knockout stages and missing some regular starters. Castlehaven have been scoring freely throughout the campaign whilst Dohenys have delivered consistent performances en route to the final.

Both clubs should be well supported inside CIT’s ground next Saturday.

A crackling atmosphere and epic county final awaits.

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