Our New Year's wish list for women in sport

Ger McCarthy looks at what will make 2023 a successful year for some of Cork's most talented female athletes
Our New Year's wish list for women in sport

Megan Connolly of Republic of Ireland shoots at goal against Georgia. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

HERE is our New Year’s wish list ahead of what will hopefully be another spectacular year for women in sport both inside and outside of Cork.

Cork LGFA 

A wish that Shane Ronayne and his senior inter-county panel settle into a winning habit during the 2023 National League campaign, retain their Munster senior title and go on to claim a first All-Ireland championship since 2016.

As for the Cork LGFA club scene, an additional wish that Mourneabbey and Éire Óg don’t dominate proceedings as much as they have done in recent times.

Instead, that Aghada, Bride Rovers, Clonakilty, Kinsale and others, including newcomers Castlehaven, step up to the plate and provide two of Cork LGFA’s most talented senior clubs with a meaningful challenge.

 Ciara O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, clashes in front of goal with defender Isobel Sheehan, of Éire Óg, before Mourneabbey made it eight counties in nine years at MTU Cork in October. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Ciara O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, clashes in front of goal with defender Isobel Sheehan, of Éire Óg, before Mourneabbey made it eight counties in nine years at MTU Cork in October. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Delivering a rip-roaring senior football championship from group to knockout stages would do wonders for the LGFA’s promotion inside and outside the county bounds. The same goes for 2023’s intermediate and junior county championships.

Cork Camogie 

A wish that manager Matthew Twomey and his senior panel goes one step further and claims a first O’Duffy Cup since 2018.

Don’t forget that, despite some inconsistent displays, Cork still managed to run Galway close in the National League final and Kilkenny even closer in a terrific All-Ireland decider.

This is an experienced, vibrant and hugely talented panel of players led by a manager who knows exactly what’s required to be successful this coming year.

A wish too that Trevor Coleman, his hard-working management team and equally talented Cork intermediate camogie panel are rewarded with silverware in 2023. No one deserves it more.

Another wish surrounds the Cork Camogie club championships. This year’s senior semi-finals and final delivered excitement, hard-hitting action and large attendances. More of the same in 2023 please.

Republic of Ireland Women’s international team 

A simple wish that the entire nation gets behind Vera Pauw and the Republic of Ireland Women’s international senior team as they make history at World Cup 2023 next summer.

Having come through a gruelling and complicated qualification process, Ireland will make their World Cup finals debut against the one of the two host nations, Australia, in Brisbane on July 20. That opener will be followed by equally tough encounters against Canada and Nigeria.

Irish women’s international soccer has come a long way since the dark days of 2017 when the senior squad was forced to go public with their grievances against the FAI.

Now, a nation waits in giddy anticipation as Ireland’s senior international team looks to inspire the next generation of Denise O’Sullivan, Megan Connolly, Éabha O’Mahony and Saoirse Noonans.

Irish and Munster Women’s Rugby 

A wish that new Munster Women’s Rugby Head Coach Niamh Briggs builds on the great work being carried out behind the scenes and at underage level in 2023.

Munster claimed last year’s Vodafone Women’s Rugby Inter-Provincial series following convincing victories over Connacht, Ulster and Leinster. Repeating that feat will not be easy but a winning culture is growing at adult and U18 level within the women’s provincial setup so why not?

Another wish is that Munster Women’s AIL representatives, Ballincollig and UL Bohemians, continue to flourish in an increasingly competitive club scene.

Ireland last won a Women’s Triple-Crown and Six Nations title back in 2015. England have dominated the competition since then, winning five of the last seven tournaments.

So, a wish that Musgrave Park will host two Tik Tok Six Nations victories over the French and English next April and that both of those encounters will be played out in front of capacity crowds.

Irish and Munster Women’s Hockey 

A wish that Ireland will put a forgettable World Cup 2022 campaign behind them and make their mark at the 2023 Women's Euro Hockey Championships in Monchengladbach next August.

Having come through the Euro Hockey Championship qualifiers on home soil, Coach Sean Dancer and a new-look Irish senior squad will take on host nation, England and Scotland in the group phase.

Its less than four years since Ireland came up short to the Netherlands in a World Cup final. The feel-good factor around Irish Women’s hockey generated at those 2018 games still remains but must be rekindled over the next twelve months.

First, a wish that Ireland’s senior hockey internationals produce the goods at this year’s Nations Cup, a new annual event offering competition to top-ranked teams like Ireland who failed to qualify for FIH Pro League.

On the domestic front, a second wish that Munster Women’s Hockey builds on a terrific 2022 at both interprovincial and club level.

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