Cork select U16 panel of 30 ladies footballers after trials featuring 400 players

Ballygarvan's Kieran O'Shea is in charge of the Rebels this season
Cork select U16 panel of 30 ladies footballers after trials featuring 400 players

West Cork representatives on the 2022 Cork LGFA U16 panel who helped overcome Kerry in the Munster LGFA U16 A final included Kate Carey, Leah Carey, Éabha O’Donovan, Niamh O’Sullivan, Catherine Murphy, Eleanor Keating and Amy McKennedy.

NEW Cork LGFA U16 manager Kieran O’Shea has announced his panel following a lengthy trial period that involved over 400 players.

Ballygarvan club man Kieran O’Shea will lead the Cork LGFA U16s this year.

Following a lengthy trial process, in which over 400 hundred players were put through their paces, a final panel of 30 has been announced ahead of the Rebel’s upcoming Munster LGFA campaign.

“I am delighted to have gotten the role because we have a very talented group of players representing Cork this year,” the Cork LGFA U16 manager commented.

“It is a great honour. My management team and I have been very busy as we had players trialling since last November. That process continued until the middle of January.

It was tough going considering the harsh weather at that time of year. So full credit to all the girls who attended and put in such a huge effort.

“It was a massive task to go from 400 down to 30 but we are very happy with our final squad. Everyone is focused on the year ahead now.”

Last year, Cork’s U16s concluded a successful 2022 provincial campaign by overcoming Kerry in their Munster LGFA decider.

Niamh O’Sullivan netted twice in a 3-10 to 2-3 victory, a result that propelled Dominic Gallagher’s (Mourneabbey) team into the last four of the All-Ireland U16 championship.

Ulster champions Cavan were overcome 3-12 to 2-12 following a cracking semi-final encounter in Nenagh. That result setup a showdown with Dublin.

Nenagh was once again the venue for a midweek All-Ireland final held on a balmy July evening. Perfect conditions and a huge attendance contributed to a memorable encounter in which the sides were level, 2-1 to 1-4, at the interval.

Niamh O’Sullivan raised a green flag to ensure the Rebels kept pace with a Dublin side that had netted inside the opening 10 seconds and midway through the opening period. Then, Izzy Dowling scored Dublin’s third goal before Aoibhe Daly replied from the penalty spot on the hour.

Grace Cronin’s injury-time point looked to have won it for Cork until Ellen Leddy Doyle’s free at the opposite end forced extra time. Dublin added a fourth goal and not even a late converted penalty could prevent Cork from succumbing to a 4-12 to 3-9 loss.

As for 2023, Kieran O’Shea and his panel are correctly not looking beyond their first Munster LGFA match.

“We are just focussing on our first match in the Munster championship against Limerick,” O’Shea said. “It is a case of taking one game at a time. We have a very talented and committed group of players but we are looking at the long-term picture. The hope is that some of these U16s will eventually go on to represent Cork at senior level.”

O’Shea will be joined on the sideline by Martin Nagle, Roisin Long, John Holly and Ger Lombard as part of his Cork management team this season. The Rebels won’t have long to wait for the county’s first taste of competitive U16 action.

“We play Limerick on Sunday, February 26, and have training sessions and challenge games organised between now and our first Munster LGFA championship game,” Kieran O’Shea added.

“Poor weather is making it hard to get access to pitches at the minute but we are hoping things improve and facilities become available.

We’ve been fortunate in that we have three all-weather pitches in Banteer, Bishopstown and Páirc Uí Chaoimh. They have been a great help to us.

“This is an ambitious group. You could see that in our first Cork U16 training session. The talent coming through is fantastic.

“That’s a credit to the development work being done by all the clubs around the county.

“We have eight players from last year involved once again and they want to drive things on.

“Everyone is looking forward to the year ahead.”

2023 Cork LGFA U16 panel: 

Jenny O’Neill (Erin’s Own), Andrea Toye (St Michaels), Maisie McRae (Aghada), Sarah Barry (St Michaels), Éimear Walsh (Mourneabbey), Allie Tobin (O’Donovan Rossa), Niamh Hartnett (Erin’s Own), Aisling O’Sullivan (Donoughmore), Ciara Kelleher (St Val’s), Katie Ferns (Dromtarriffe), Rebecca Feehan (Fermoy), Rachel Breen (Mourneabbey), Megan Barrett (Erin’s Own), Orlaith Drummey (Erin’s Own), Johanna Foskin (Bishopstown), Aoife O’Driscoll (O’Donovan Rossa), Kate McEntee (Valley Rovers), Sarah O’Farrell (Glanworth), Éabha O’Donovan (O’Donovan Rossa), Maisie O’Callaghan (Kinsale), Caoimhe Horgan (Kinsale), Lily O’Shea (St Val’s), Eabha Nagle (Erin’s Own), Ella Burns (Grenagh), Kate Carey (Ilen Rovers), Aoibhe Sheehan (Douglas), Sophie O’Shea (Ballygarvan), Laura Walsh (Mourneabbey), Catherine Murphy (Kinsale), Aisling Leahy (St Michaels).

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