Cork ladies football: Inch Rovers rivalry with St Val’s continues in Senior B final

Killeagh based club have enjoyed great success across their 37 seasons
Cork ladies football: Inch Rovers rivalry with St Val’s continues in Senior B final

Eireann O'Shea, St Val's, tackles Ciara Irwin, Inch Rovers, in last year's Senior B final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

AFTER the disappointment of failing to get through the Senior A championship group games, Inch Rovers ladies footballers are now fully focused on this weekend’s Senior B decider at the MTU Grounds in Bishopstown.

Familiar opposition awaits in St Val’s, just like last year, in the clash on Saturday (3pm). Just over a year ago, all went well for Inch, as they overcame Val’s by 0-12 to 0-8, with Annie Walsh posting a hugely impressive nine points from her centre-forward role.

The win was a significant step up the ladder for Inch, after intermediate success a year earlier, having slipped somewhat off the radar following a glorious run that peaked in 2010 when beating Carnacon to win the All-Ireland senior title.

Central to the current Inch set-up is team manager Noel ‘Dip’ O’Connor; a legend in the game who has given many years of service to club and county.

“It would be really nice to win this championship again.

“You find in this game that clubs go through a revolving time. We had some great years and then a bit of a lean period, but now we have come back again. 

It’s very important to keep it going, especially for the younger players as we have a vibrant underage section at present. Hopefully this will help towards their progress.

“It was unfortunate to go out of the A competition on scoring difference, but it was probably the combination of a hectic few weeks of activity that we did not get the desired outcome.

“Once we were eliminated, there was no point in looking back. We just had to focus on the challenges ahead and try to get back to the B final. Coming up to the semi-final, the weather was poor for training, but we were delighted with the win and are now really looking forward to this weekend’s game.

“Despite playing plenty of games, we have not met St Val’s since last year’s final, the structure in 2021 meant that all teams got more games than during the shorter season last year. These matches have given plenty of opportunity for game time for our players.

“In relation to the make-up of the panel, there are a few players involved with the Leaving Cert that may not have done as much as last year but are still part of the panel. Overall, there is not too much change to the squad from 12 months ago.”

 Inch Rovers celebrate their win against St Vals last season. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Inch Rovers celebrate their win against St Vals last season. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Based at Killeagh GAA Club complex, Inch included players from neighbouring parishes, a number of them chasing a county double in camogie and ladies football. Football captain Sarah Harrington and her twin sister Kate along with Aoife Higgins all started for neighbours Fr O’Neill’s recently as they defeated Aghabullogue in the Senior B camogie county win. The clash at Castle Road was a very tight encounter and the same tag line could be added ahead of Saturday’s football final.

Both sides impressed last time out in the penultimate round. Inch, with goals from Anne Marie O’Connor and Noelle O’Donovan, posted a 2-10 to 1-7 win over an emerging Clonakilty outfit, with Ciara McCarthy registering 2-3 and Laura Buttimer scoring 1-3 as St Val’s booked their final place courtesy of an eight-point triumph over Fermoy.

Inch have come a long way since the club’s foundation 37 years ago. Should they win, it would be another bit of silverware to add to the many that have returned to the parish over recent decades.

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