IT'S a big weekend for Cork women’s soccer as Colin Gurhy's U13 side compete in the first ever Munster final at this level.
On Saturday they face the Limerick Desmond league at Mastergeeha kick off at 4pm with the Cork side being firm favourites to win the title.
The sides have already met this season with Cork coming out on top proving to be too strong for their Munster rivals however as we all know, finals are different, with so much to play for and I’m sure Gurhy and his team won’t be too complacent.
Enroute to the final they have secured wins over South Tipperary, Limerick Desmond and Kerry and having topped their group they now face second place Limerick Desmond again in which Gurhy hopes can be a repeat of their last meeting.
“We certainly won’t take anything for granted but I still hope we will be too strong for Limerick,” said Gurhy.
"The girls have been playing well and training hard and I believe if they can perform to the best of their ability on Saturday, there’s no reason why we can’t win this title.
“We already beat Limerick Desmond 2-0 and I would hope we come out on top once again on Saturday and bring home Cork's first ever U13 Girls Muster title.”
The squad is made up of 20 players from 12 different clubs across the country and for the father of two from Glanmire, the talent shown by each player throughout the season is what he hopes will get them over the line on Saturday.
“We have the very best of talent from Cork on the squad and from the word go they were very eager to learn and gel together. I would expect most of these girls to make up next year's Gaynor Squad as each player's talents are endless.
"The girls have done Trojan work since they’ve come in with us and hopefully now that can all come to fruition on Saturday.
"They’re all really looking forward to it. There is serious talent right throughout the squad. A vast range of qualities from different individuals. All we hope is that they all come together on final day.
"Up until now the girls have shown their capabilities and I have no doubt they will do the same Saturday. It would be great to get support for the game.
“Out of the 20 players in our squad they represent 12 clubs. Clubs with girls on the squad are Mallow, Midleton, Leeside, Lakewood, Kanturk, Wilton, Douglas Hall, Kilworth, Passage, Carrigaline, Carrigtowhill and Avondale and huge credit is due to all those girls for producing such great talent.
“This is the first year that we have a girls U13 Interleague. We now work under the SFAI and have the same competitions as boys which is great."
A total of 19 counties take part in the U13 Interleague: Cork, Kerry, Limerick Desmond, South Tipperary ,Clare A, Donegal, Mayo, Sligo/Letrim, MGL South, Midlands, Kilkenny, Kildare, MGL North, NECSL, LOUTH, Longford, Galway, Roscommon, North Tipperary.
"The competition started on the second of March so everyone had to gel together fast as a squad. All the girls worked hard at training in the build up to our first game.
“We started trials back in February to form a squad of 20 from approximately 70 girls. Clubs were asked to put their best players forward to attend the squad and they most certainly did just that. We did intense trials over three weeks to pick our final squad.
"To say it was hard would be an understatement and there wasn’t much in it between the girls for the last spots on the squad however we were happy with the finalised squad and they haven't disappointed.”
Interleague at this age for girls is a first and for Gurhy, he believes it’s a perfect opportunity for girls to play with and against quality players.
“Interleague competitions are very good so the best of what Cork has to offer can go out and showcase their skills at a nationwide level while developing and growing as individuals.
"Chances are the girls playing in these competitions will one day be wearing an Irish jersey. That will be an aim for us anyhow to prepare as many girls as we can to play at that level and to know that they came through the pathway of the CWSSL.
“I have to give a big thanks to Helen Noonan who I work with very closely on a daily basis. Needless to say, I don't do everything on my own. A big thank you to the assistant coaches Bryan O’Donnell, Siobhan Deasy and Muireann Deasy who have done Trojan work.
"To win this weekend would be amazing and to top it off, because we topped our group, we have automatically qualified for the the cup semi-final which is against NECSL on Sunday, May 29 in MDL grounds in Navan.
"So a busy two weekends ahead which hopefully bring silverware to Cork.”