Carrigaline are focused on more than wins, it's all about the girls progression on and off the pitch

Carrigaline are focused on more than wins, it's all about the girls progression on and off the pitch

Carrigaline U12 National cup finalists pictured prior to their semi final against Evergreen. Missing from the picture is Hannah Murphy and Caoilfhionn Scannell

TURNER'S CROSS on Saturday will be the hive of activity as it will host three National cup finals with three Cork teams featuring in these, finals.

They are Carrigaline U12 girls and U16 Boys, along with Midleton U13 Boys.

Carrigaline girls are hoping to win the clubs first ever National cup and although they will face tough opposition in Dublin outfit Peamount, Manager Daniel Lynch believes there is no pressure on the girls, who have already done the club so proud in reaching the National cup final.

“Winning or losing means zero to me,” said Lynch. 

"Getting the girls to the national stage to have a life experience (positive or negative) with their best friends and their families means everything to me as a parent and coach.” 

The talented side have many great players with Ruth McGrath, Lucy Cotter and Kim Lynch being key players to watch out for, however it will take a full team performance to overcome an equally talented Peamount side but hopefully Cork support in Turner's Cross can make a difference in bringing the cup to Leeside. 

Lucy Cotter and Ruth McGrath midfield Generals for Carrigaline.
Lucy Cotter and Ruth McGrath midfield Generals for Carrigaline.

But for Lynch and Management, while they have great individual players, he knows his players collectively, are what makes his side so special.

“It’s the first time in our club history to have a girls team make it this far and first time to have two teams from our club playing in the finals in a given year. 

"The day itself will be a great occasion for the girls, their families and friends, the club and Carrigaline – in terms of the girls soccer journey we like to view it just as another step in their long soccer future ahead.

“For us, it’s all about focusing on what we as a team have achieved. 

"There is a great bunch of girls and Management, along with fantastic parents.

“We had a terrible start to the season – losing four on the bounce. 

"After a solid previous season a lot of soul searching and rethinking had to be done. Training approach, personnel, positions and team structure. 

"Real back to the whiteboard stuff for the girls and now the only league loss we have suffered recently was due to our keeper being on holidays without a viable backup in place. 

"She’s (thankfully!) back from holidays and we have unearthed an amazing back up goalkeeper.

“Our games enroute to the final threw a lot at us and it was amazing to see how girls dealt with every scenario. 

"We started away to Fermoy in a 2:1 win – that was a defining moment for the girls season. 

"Only a few weeks beforehand we suffered a heavy 4:0 loss to the same opposition, but the girls learned so much from that game enabling the turnaround when it came to the big national cup match.

“After that we had super experiences with two away games against Bellurgan (Louth) and Newtown (Longford) and home to Torro (Meath) and Evergreen (Kilkenny). 

"The girls have handled the days well – playing great football and coming through some tight games – two penalty shoot outs proving the girls mettle.” 

Many people believe athletics should be the basis of all sports. 

Carrigaline girls are lucky to have an athletics coach as their Manager and Lynch’s ideas, committment and dedication have proven to be key in the girls success.

Carrigaline's Mia Collins scoring the winning penalty kick to advance to the National cup final.
Carrigaline's Mia Collins scoring the winning penalty kick to advance to the National cup final.

“I joined the team when they came out of the academy at the start of last season – so two years at it with the girls now. 

"We have a very strong coaching team but I think Mary Gallagher and Grainne Carmody are the soul of the management team – they bring the coaching magic that spots peaks and troughs of the individuals and the team which steers me in the right direction on training plan, team selection… everything! 

"Brian Cotter, Yannick Lavanant and Keith Hutchinson complete the coaching ticket – great soccer minds who have become great friends. 

"We have incredible backing from all the parents – Orla, Sarah, Sinead and everyone who steps up at key moments during the season to help us out – the girls' attitudes do reflect the wonderful families they come from.

“I’ve been running the Tracton Athletic Club juveniles for a couple of years now – so I had the ability to run sessions and keep the kids entertained while improving their skills. 

"Once my own kids got to a certain age – more time freed up and I felt it was right to step up and help out more. 

"Now I’m coaching athletics three days a week, soccer two days a week and every weekend is a constant timetable battle with matches, athletics meets and the odd GAA match thrown in for fun! 

"My wife Ellen has been so supportive enabling me to be out coaching all the time.

“Like most parents jumping in for the first time – it’s a mixture of remembering old approaches when you were playing and blending with youtube tips! 

"I came across Larry Mahony’s books and his online interviews have been a massive game changer for me in terms of structuring training, skills development and ensuring the girls get the message you are trying to convey. 

"Other big influences for me this season have been listening to Keith Ricken's words of wisdom online (he is gold) and our Chairperson Willie Walsh who gives his time and knowledge so willingly. 

"Both these people set your thinking straight in terms of your approach to management.

“My daughter Kim plays in midfield. She’s become our lungs for the team – box to box player, getting in critical tackles and coming up with key goals during the season. 

"She enjoys me being involved in the team – but once training or a match starts, she’s just one of the girls. 

"My younger son Dan also comes to all our training and matches – helps out by standing in goals, quietly helps out and allows me to give him an extra bit of soccer training during the week.

“Saturday is going to be a wonderful experience for the girls, their families and their friends. 

"We expect a massive turnout given the three Cork teams playing on the day. The girls will be ready on the day to handle the experience and will perform no question.

Win or Lose on Saturday we’re pretty happy about what we’ve achieved and where this team is going in the long run.” 

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