Revealed: Reardens Cork Club Ladies Football All-Star 15

Reardens Bar are honouring the best 15 club players in Cork picked from their performances in the 2021 senior championship
Revealed: Reardens Cork Club Ladies Football All-Star 15

Bride Rovers' Katie Quirke on the ball against Kinsale. Picture: Denis Boyle

TRYING to pick a club team of the year is never easy, no matter what the sport is.

Selecting the Reardens All-Star ladies football team of the year was a very difficult ask, but after serious debate and consideration, here are the best 15 players from this year's senior championship.

The All-Star awards was due to be presented to the players on Tuesday, December 7 at 7.30pm in Reardens Bar, but is cancelled due to Covid restrictions and will take place instead early in the New Year.

Ladies football is no different, especially when you have two or three candidates for nearly every position and one as good as the other.

Starting with the keeper it was a choice between Éire Óg's Lisa Crowley and Mourneabbey's Meabh O'Sullivan. Having considered all the options these two came out top of the pile and over the club season, there was little between them.

Meabh has been an outstanding shot-stopper now for several years and has Cork, Munster, and All-Ireland club medals safely tucked away in the trophy cabinet.

Her form this season will have brought her to the attention of the Cork selectors again and it would be no great surprise to see her back in the Rebel red next season.

Lisa was a key component in Éire Óg's run to the final and along the way had to make a number of outstanding saves in nearly every game. Even though they won the semi-final well it could have been a slightly different story were it not for a number of top-class saves by Lisa.

Mourneabbey's Ciara O'Callaghan is tackled by Éire Óg's goalkeeper Lisa Crowley during the Cork senior ladies football championship at Mourneabbbey. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Mourneabbey's Ciara O'Callaghan is tackled by Éire Óg's goalkeeper Lisa Crowley during the Cork senior ladies football championship at Mourneabbbey. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

She repeated this in the final and on the toss of a coin between the two of them Lisa gets the nod.

Like the keepers, there were plenty of candidates for the full-back line, with the likes of Aobha Hickey, Claire Ambrose, Aisling O'Sullivan, Laura Quirke, Aoife Walsh all in the running.

Replacing any of the selected three with the aforementioned wouldn't weaken the line in any way.

So the full-back line is Kathryn Coakley, Jennifer O'Gorman, and Eimear Meaney. Not too many forwards would get the better of these three. Coakley and Meaney are two of the most consistent defenders around and game after game they are outstanding for Mourneabbey.

Last year Éire Óg were well beaten in the semi-final by Mourneabbey but this season they have been much improved and defensively they were rock solid. Jennifer O'Gorman's displays at full-back were a key part of their run to the final.

In the half-back line, the choice is Meabh Cahalane, Maire O'Callaghan, and Ellie Jack.

St Val's Laura Buttimer in action against Éire Óg's Meabh Cahalane. Picture: Gavin Browne
St Val's Laura Buttimer in action against Éire Óg's Meabh Cahalane. Picture: Gavin Browne

Meabh, a dual star at club and county level, is the type of defender that no forward likes to come up against. Not too many get the better of her and she is also capable of driving forward to set up scoring opportunities for her side.

Alongside her is Maire O'Callaghan, one of the most consistent players in the game. She never lets her club or county down. Maire likes to let her football do the talking and it certainly does.

She is just as comfortable in midfield and is sure to be a star of the game for many years to come.

Ellie Jack is another that is as comfortable in the half-forward line as the half-back one. Still, a young player Ellie will be a name that will be spoken about at club level for some time as a great attacking half-back.

Mourneabbey's Ellie Jack takes possession with Aedin Murray of Foxrock-Cabinteely in close proximity. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Mourneabbey's Ellie Jack takes possession with Aedin Murray of Foxrock-Cabinteely in close proximity. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Midfield took a lot of debate and you could easily have gone for the midfield pairings of Mourneabbey, Éire Óg, Inch Rovers, St Val's, or Bride Rovers and it would have been difficult to argue against any of them.

So picking two here was probably the most difficult choice of all lines. In the end, the two selected were Ashling O'Connell of Éire Óg and Lydia of Inch Rovers. Ashling's move from defence to midfield was a huge part of their run to the final and displays for Inch were at the top level as well. Lydia played a key part in her side's championship run

And now for the easy part, picking six forwards! I tried to name 24 but the boss said it can only be six so here goes.

At half-forward, the final pick is the Kinsale duo of Orla Finn and Sadhbh O'Leary who flank Mourneabbey's Bríd O'Sullivan at centre-forward. These three would cause problems for any inter-county defence not to mind a club side. 

In the semi-final, Kinsale came close to upsetting the odds, in one of the best games of the year against Mourneabbey. Key to that were Finn and O'Leary who were a constant threat and on another day their display would have been enough to have won.

Orla Finn, Kinsale. Picture: Larry Cummins
Orla Finn, Kinsale. Picture: Larry Cummins

There is not too much you can say about O'Sullivan, bar that she has been one of the best forwards in the game for several years and often doesn't get the recognition she deserves.

The full-forward line is one that inter-county defences will face in the coming season as these three will be high up in the Cork management's thoughts.

They are Katie Quirke, Doireann O'Sullivan, and Eimear Scally. All three have it all and on top of their skill levels is their work rate and desire to win.

It is not beyond the possibility that the front six could all start together for Cork next year at some point. On top of them, you can't forget the likes of Ciara O'Sullivan, Angela Walsh, Ciara McCarthy, Annie Walsh, Ciara Irwin, Laura Fitzgerald, Emma and Laura Cleary to name a few.

Reardens Ladies Football All-Stars: 

Keeper: Lisa Crowley, Éire Óg. 

Full-back line: Kathryn Coakley, Mourneabbey; Jen O'Gorman, Éire Óg; Eimear Meaney, Mourneabbey. 

Half-back line: Meabh Cahalane, Éire Óg; Maire O'Callaghan, Mourneabbey; Ellie Jack, Mourneabbey. 

Midfield: Lydia Williams, Inch Rovers; Ashling O'Sullivan, Éire Óg. 

Half-forward line: Orla Finn, Kinsale; Brid O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey; Sadhbh O'Leary, Kinsale. 

Full-forward line: Eimear Scally, Éire Óg; Doireann O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey; Katie Quirke, Bride Rovers.

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