Castlehaven ladies football team storm on after a decade

Despite starting out at U10 in 2012 and only adding an adult team three years later, the Haven are now thriving
Castlehaven ladies football team storm on after a decade

The Castlehaven panel celebrating a hard-earned victory. Picture: Andrew Harris

THE 2022 Intermediate county finalists Castlehaven have been the standout West Cork club in this year’s Cork LGFA championships.

Formed in 2012, Castlehaven LGFA fielded at U10 level in their inaugural year before adding teams at the U12, U14, U16 and minor grades over the following twenty-four months.

It wasn’t until 2015 that enough adult players were gathered to field at a competitive level. 

Yet, humble beginnings at junior E level saw the Union Hall-Castletownshend club quickly blaze a successful trail through the junior ranks.

Last year’s epic junior A decider with fellow West Cork rivals Dohenys finished level after extra-time before a nerve-jangling 30-metre shootout saw Castlehaven eventually prevail at MTU.

Reaching the Cork LGFA intermediate ranks less than a decade after the club’s creation is no small feat. 

So, much was expected of a Castlehaven team in their first year in the IFC. The West Cork side did not disappoint.

Castlehaven captain Siobahn Courtney. Picture: Andrew Harris
Castlehaven captain Siobahn Courtney. Picture: Andrew Harris

Under the tutelage of Dinny Cahalane, the Haven overcame Abhainn Dalla, Donoughmore and Araglen Desmond’s Buí during the group stages before knocking out Rosscarbery 5-9 to 1-7 in the county semi-finals.

Perennial challengers Glanmire stand in Castlehaven’s way of adding an intermediate title to their multiple junior successes.

More importantly, October 1st’s IFC county final showdown, once again at MTU, will see the winners progress to the senior ranks. 

That’s a goal Castlehaven set themselves when first embarking on their ladies football club odyssey ten years ago.

Despite injuries to key players throughout 2022, Mairead O’Driscoll, Hannah Sheehy, Gráinne O'Sullivan, Rachel Whelton, Eilis Bohane, Niamh O’Sullivan and Siobhán Courtney’s combined scoring abilities has seen the West Cork club remain undefeated.

As a result, Castlehaven are once again just one step from Cork LGFA county final glory.

Consdiering their recent championship record, Glanmire represent Castlehaven’s toughest challenge to date. 

Thanks to a thriving underage setup, the East Cork women have been regular county finalists at intermediate level in recent times.

Lucy Green (1-5) and Niamh McAllen (1-3) combined for 2-8 of Glanmire’s winning total in their 2-12 to 0-10 IFC semi-final defeat of Araglen Desmonds Buí.

Yet, this year’s Glanmire panel possesses plenty of depth and the ability to finally get over the line. Ellen Twomey, Sarah O’Brien, Ellen Murphy, Clodagh O’Donovan and Orlaith Roche shone in that county semi-final victory and will be pivotal to Glanmire’s chances next weekend.

The heartache of losing to Valley Rovers (2021 IFC final), Clonakilty (2020 IFC final) and Inch Rovers (2019 IFC semi-final after a replay) means motivation will not be an issue when Glanmire line out against their West Cork opponents.

Shelley Daly pushing through Dohenys defence. Picture: Andrew Harris
Shelley Daly pushing through Dohenys defence. Picture: Andrew Harris

This year’s IFC decider is a close one to call and a game in which Castlehaven require their best performance of the season to reach the senior ranks. An experienced and battle-hardened Glanmire will have plenty to say about that.

Away from the intermediate ranks, some of West Cork LGFA’s other competitors have struggled to match Castlehaven’s consistency.

TOUGH GOING

Kinsale, Clonakilty and Valley Rovers made little headway in this year’s senior A competition and were left to focus on the senior B championship over the coming weeks.

It is fair to say that Valleys found the going tough in their first year up at senior.

Bereft of the Kiely twins, Daire and Eimear, until after the championship had started following their return from the USA, an injury-ravaged Rovers side failed to register a victory in a group that contained Mourenabbey, Éire Óg, Fermoy and Kinsale.

The latter thanks to four points apiece from Orla Finn and Caoimhe Horgan, overcame Fermoy 2-10 to 0-15 to reach this year’s county B semi-finals.

Clonakilty’s solitary championship Group 2 victory was a 1-14 to 1-12 success away to Inch Rovers. As with Valleys, injuries to key personnel and losing Cork inter-county goalkeeper Martina O’Brien to a two-game suspension hampered them.

Hopes are high of a second consecutive West Cork success in this season’s junior A championship.

Last year’s runners-up Dohenys and O’Donovan Rossa remain in the hunt for JAFC honours amid a tight round-robin championship where Naomh Abán and Douglas have proven worthy opponents. Cork LGFA seniors Melissa Duggan (Dohneys) and Laura O’Mahony (O’Donovan Rossa) will be eager to inspire their respective teams to the junior A title.

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