Cork v Kerry: Ladies footballers set sights on rivals in Munster final

U14s lost a classic clash at Páirc Uí Rinn, now the seniors head to Killarney this Saturday
Cork v Kerry: Ladies footballers set sights on rivals in Munster final

Cork's  Maire O'Callaghan in action against  Waterford's Kellyann Hogan and Hannah Power, will captain her county against Kerry in the Munster final on Saturday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

LAST Saturday the clash of Cork and Kerry in the Platinium U14 All-Ireland girls football final was an advert for all that is good about the game.

Some will argue that there should be no All-Ireland finals at this age as they are too young, but that's a different debate.

All those present to watch the game were treated to one where the players gave it everything with some brilliant individual displays along with top-class play and skills from all involved. 

The atmosphere was electric and in the end, the only pity was the fact there had to be a loser. It took extra time to separate the sides with the Kingdom getting a goal in the final minute to win by 5-12 to 5-10.

There were great players from both sides all over the place but the two numbers 11s in particular caught the eye. Cork's Laura Walsh and Kerry's Phoebe O'Shea gave displays of football that defied their young ages.

Cork's Laura Walsh in action against  Sadhbh Ní Shlattara of Kerry in the  U14 All-Ireland Platinum final.
Cork's Laura Walsh in action against  Sadhbh Ní Shlattara of Kerry in the  U14 All-Ireland Platinum final.

It was also nice to see that a fair share of the Cork senior team were present on Saturday to support the stars of the future and at some point some of those on show might be playing alongside them.

Now, next Saturday, it's the turn of the two senior sides as Cork make the trip to Killarney to take on Kerry in the Munster ladies football final. One of those watching on Saturday was Cork captain Maire O'Callaghan who will lead the team out in a final for the first time in Killarney, with the game throwing in at 12.15pm.

Looking ahead to the final Maire is well aware of the tough encounter they are facing, especially with Kerry having won the Division 2 league recently and also having a good win over Tipperary in their semi-final, with the Rebels defeating Waterford in this decider.

"We are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday, it will be a very difficult game as Kerry are in a really good place at the moment," said Maire, "It's always a battle against them and it will be an even bigger one down in their own backyard. I'm sure there will be a big Kerry crowd in with the men playing afterward.

"We have beaten them a few times and they have beaten us as well and with their recent league title win they will be full of confidence for this game. This is the first time since 2019 that this championship has been played and we want to retain our title.

"The winners of this game will be in a good position going into the All-Ireland championship series and both Kerry and ourselves will be hoping to do that. But we have to put that aside on the day and just focus on the game and try to win that first and worry about the All-Ireland series afterward.

"We are hoping to put in a big performance and build on our win over Waterford, where some aspects of our game were good but others we were not too happy with. We will need to up that showing to have any chance against Kerry."

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