The Cork U14 panel is primed and ready to take on Kerry in this weekend’s All-Ireland LGFA U14 Platinum Series final at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Cork manager JJ Deasy has overseen a successful campaign and guided the youngest of the Rebel’s inter-county footballers to an All-Ireland LGFA final next Saturday afternoon.
Cork came through a Munster-winning campaign and LGFA Platinum (top ranked) series of blitzes before taking on Down in the All-Ireland semi-final in Rathleague, county Laois.
A cracking opening half saw Cork change ends 2-3 to 1-4 in front. Backed by a strong wind in the second period, JJ Deasy’s team scored four additional goals to cement their All-Ireland final berth. The 6-11 to 1-7 final score suggests Cork experienced a comfortable victory but that was from the truth according to JJ Deasy.
“There were only two points between us at half time but there was a stiff breeze and the elements suited us in the second half,” the Cork manager said.
“We were able to use the elements to our advantage and pushed on. That forced Down to come out and our girls scored four goals on the break. The elements definitely worked to our advantage on the day.” Laura Walsh was one of Cork’s standout performers in the victory over Down. The Mourneabbey star contributed 2-7 (1-4 from frees) in a game Aoife Treacy, Erin Healy, Evelyn McCarthy and Theresa Dorgan also found the net. Leanne O’Leary, Lilly Collins and Sarah O’Connor were amongst the Rebels’ other scorers.
Playing in the LGFA’s top U14 grade has tested Cork to the full this year but JJ Deasy’s side fully deserve their All-Ireland final place.
Standing in Cork’s way of another U14 national title are old rivals Kerry. The Rebels defeated the Kingdom in this year’s Munster decider back in April.
Played in Mallow, Cork were pushed to the limit before overcoming their opponents by two points. Losing 2-3 to 1-7 at the interval and 3-6 to 2-7 with six minutes to go, Cork were indebted to Sarah O’Connor (Ballincollig) for netting a vital goal. A marvellous Munster final ended 3-8 to 3-6 in Cork’s favour and an equally tight matchup is anticipated this weekend.
Both Cork and Kerry agreed to toss for a home venue. Cork won and now all roads lead to Páirc Uí Rinn for Saturday’s the All-Ireland final which throws in at 1pm.
“This will be the biggest occasion girls both teams have ever experienced and played in a venue like Páirc Uí Rinn,” JJ Deasy added.
“It is an All-Ireland final. We would love to see as many parents, families, club members and supporters as possible come out on the day and to support the girls. It would be great to get a big crowd there for such an important occasion.
“It has the makings of a great game and should be a fabulous match as these are two evenly matched sides.
“We are thrilled with the Cork players progress since we first got together for U14 trials a good few months ago now. There are 30 girls on the Cork panel and each one of them has earned their place.
“We are lucky to have such a talented group. The format of this year’ U14 LGFA championship means five substitutes are used in each game. All five have to get a minimum of 20 minutes on the pitch. So we tell the girls before every game that substitutions have to be made so it doesn’t matter what way they are playing. In fairness, the girl have bought into that rule and there is no drama about it.
“From day one, this group of players have worked unbelievably hard and have a great attitude. There has been a lot of improvement over the last couple of months so the Cork management team can have no complaints whatsoever.”
Cliodhna Higgins (Éire Óg), Ava Ashman (Inch Rovers), Niamh Hartnett (Erins Own), Maeve O’Sullivan (O’Donovan Rossa), Ellen Connolly (Castlehaven), Grainne O’Neill (Killshannig), Megan Barrett (captain, Erins Own), Lauren Finnegan (Mourneabbey), Laura O’Mahony (Éire Óg), Theresa Dorgan (Rockbán), Sarah O’Connor (Ballincollig), Laura Collins (Ballincollig), Alice Murphy (Donoughmore), Laura Walsh (Mourneabbey), Autumn Devereaux (Youghal), Róisín Duggan (Clonakilty), Katie Quinlan (Delanys), Evelyn McCarthy (Bandon), Lily Collins (Kinsale), Clodagh Murray (Macroom), Leanne O’Leary (Dromtarriffe), Éimear Walsh (Mourneabbey), Sly Fielding (Carrigaline), Anna Lucey O’Sullivan (Banteer), Anna O’Brien (Mallow), Naoise Hegarty (Fermoy), Erin Healy (Éire Óg), Niamh O’Mahony (Bandon), Aoife Treacy (Glanmire), Amelie Curran (Nemo Rangers).