Cork ladies football at a crossroads as new players must be blooded

Shane Ronayne's Rebels were beaten in the All-Ireland quarter-final with the county going out in the last four the season before
Cork ladies football at a crossroads as new players must be blooded

Emma Cleary of Cork after the loss to Mayo recently. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

DEPENDING on your mindset you could consider that the glass is half full or half empty for Cork ladies football at the moment.

All involved were gutted after the senior side lost out to Mayo in the TG4 All-Ireland quarter-final recently and full credit must go to the victors for their display on the day.

But as disappointing as the result was there is still plenty to be optimistic about going forward.

Manager Shane Ronayne was shaking his head afterward at what went wrong and have no doubt by now he will have looked back at the video plenty of times to try and figure it out.

If you played that match 10 times then the chances are that nine out of the 10 that Cork would win, but on the day there can be no arguing with the result.

Whilst it will take a bit of time to get over have no doubt they will come back better and stronger.

Ronayne has a winning mentality and he has shown that with Mourneabbey over the years.

Expect him to spend a bit of time digesting this result and by the time they go back inter-county training he will have come up with a plan that you will be hoping will lead to All-Ireland glory.

He has the experience to do so but like all sides, you need a little bit of luck along the way as well.

It deserted Cork at times this year but I have every faith in this squad and management and would expect the Brendan Martin Cup to arrive on Leeside in the next few years.

Will it be easy, absolutely not, but with the squad that is there and the talent that is coming through then, Cork are more than capable of winning the title.

You can mention that Cork have lost the likes of Erika O’Shea, Sadhbh O’Leary, Daire, and Eimear Kiely this year, but they have been gone since the start of the season.

One player they did miss against Mayo was Laura O’Mahony who was injured. She has been in outstanding form and her presence in defence would have helped against Mayo.

Somewhat ironically a side that Cork beat in the Munster championship are through to the final and as of now, the football senior double is on for the Kingdom.

Orla Finn of Cork in action against Fiona McHale and Kathryn Sullivan of Mayo. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Orla Finn of Cork in action against Fiona McHale and Kathryn Sullivan of Mayo. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

In that final at Fitzgerald Stadium the Rebels were worthy winners by 2-11 to 1-9 and in truth could have won by more.

But they are the ones in the final now where they will face the defending champions Meath.

While they will be considered underdogs they won’t fear Meath and they have grown into the season and are peaking at the right time.


Another incentive to drive on Cork next season but what you also need is a production line to introduce new players and the Rebels have that.

The underage section of Cork ladies football has grown and grown and they are now competing at the top level on a regular basis.

This season they reached both the U14 and U16 finals and while they lost both after extra-time, the fact they are competing at the top is the important factor coming into play.

Of course, if you get to a final you want to win but looking at the bigger picture the fact we are up there competing with the best is a good sign.

It doesn’t guarantee future success but if you get a number of players from these sides then they can feed into the senior setup in the years to come.

There is an argument that there shouldn’t be All-Ireland finals at these ages and that’s another debate.

They are there for now and the Rebels are at the top table and you need that to ensure that the production line of quality players continues.

The minor footballers are in the All-Ireland semi-final tomorrow night and hopefully, they will come through that clash with Cavan to make it a hat-trick of sides in underage finals.

So while the wait goes on for a senior title for another year there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic looking forward and with that little bit of luck you need we might see the Rebels making it six-in-a-row again!

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