WEST Cork LGFA underage setups were amongst the minor and U16 grade frontrunners during 2021 with Kinsale and Ilen Rovers each tasting county glory.
Kinsale faced a Lisgoold team that had seen off Banteer and Ballinora in this year’s Minor C county final at MTU in November. Conditions were difficult but it was Kinsale who led 0-4 to 0-3 after 15 minutes. The latter’s second quarter efforts proved crucial as Caoimhe Horgan and Sophie Collins found the net to hand their side a 2-5 to 0-6 interval advantage.
Lily Fay converted a penalty to keep Lisgoold at bay and Kinsale were indebted to goalkeeper Jeanne Murphy for a string of important saves. It ended 3-9 to 1-8 in Kinsale’s favour with the newly crowned minor county champion's scores coming courtesy of Caoimhe Horgan (1-4), Sophie Collins (1-2), Lily Fay (1-0), Mary Clare Murphy (0-2) and Rachel O’Brien (0-1).
Valley Rovers squared off against Naomh Abán in the Cork LGFA minor B county decider on December 12th at MTU. A large attendance was treated to a cracking final in which Valley’s had the advantage of a gale wind in the first half. Lucy Callanan twice found the net in the opening half to hand Rovers a 2-2 to 0-3 interval advantage. Naomh Abán controlled the third quarter and, despite some excellent saves from Valleys' Anna Collins, the former edged the result 0-10 to 2-3 thanks to their ability to pick off some terrific scores.
Castlehaven lost out in the semi-finals of the minor D county championship following a marathon encounter with Inch Rovers in Moneyvollahane. The Haven recovered from the concession of an early goal to lead 4-3 to 3-4 at half-time.
Ahead by 4 points with time almost up, Castlehaven conceded 1-1 in injury-time. It finished 7-6 to 5-12 following a breathless encounter before Inch pulled 6 points clear at half-time in extra-time. Castlehaven battled gamely right up until the final whistle but lost out 7-16 to 7-9. Dohenys were beaten by Carrigaline in this season’s minor A quarter-finals, the same round Bandon exited the competition following defeat to Mourneabbey.
The West Cork division also made their presence felt at this year’s U16 Cork LGFA grade with Ilen Rovers claiming top honours and two of the region’s other clubs reaching county finals.
The U16 A county was won by an emerging Mourneabbey team who defeated Glanmire 3-10 to 2-9 to lift the trophy. Runners-up Glanmire had earlier ended Clonakilty’s hopes at the quarter-final stages, edging the latter by a point, while St Val’s defeated O’Donovan Rossa at the same juncture.
West Cork fared much better in the U16 B county championship where Ilen Rovers overcame Midleton and Valley Rovers to reach the final. Kilshannig were Ilen’s opponents having ousted Donoughmore and Naomh Abán. An evenly-fought opening period saw the west Cork club assume control courtesy of Alannah Cawley and Carla O’Regan goals.
Leading 3-9 to 0-2 at the interval, Rovers had to withstand a ferocious second half Kilshannig comeback before pulling away in the final quarter. A final score of 5-19 to 3-3 saw Ilen claim the county title with a young panel. On an historic day, Rovers’ scorers included Maebh Collins (2-4), Keelin Murphy (1-5), Carla O’Regan (1-2), Kate Carey (0-4), Alannah Cawley (1-0), Leah Carey (0-2), Alice Bushe and Saorla Carey (0-1 each).
In the U16 C competition, west Cork rivals Castlehaven and Tadhg Mac Cárthaigh came through their respective quarter-finals to setup a local derby in the last four. The Haven proved too strong for Rockbán by winning 3-12 to 2-7 while Caheragh accounted for Douglas, 3-19 to 1-11.
A third meeting in two weeks between the teams saw Caheragh leading 0-4 to 0-3 at the first water break and maintain that one-point advantage at the short whistle. Amy McKennedy’s influence grew and the Cork player scored four times in the third quarter but it would take two late goals before Caheragh finally broke Castlehaven’s resistance.
Ria Buckley and Katie Kingston found the net to copper fasten a 2-14 to 2-7 triumph and send Tadhg Mac Cárthaigh into a U16 C county final meeting with Erins Own. A cracking game went the way of the East Cork club, 3-13 to 4-4, but despite that disappointing result, this is a Tadhg Mac Cárthaigh team you will be hearing a lot more about in the coming years.
So, the past year showed why a huge amount of emerging talent is ready to make their mark both inside and outside the West Cork Division in 2022.