Cork ladies footballers in a much better position than this time last season

League glory wasn't the priority this spring, it was increasing options for championship
Cork ladies footballers in a much better position than this time last season

Ciara O'Sullivan, Cork, goes past Tara Hegarty, Donegal. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

IT'S five down and two to go for the Cork ladies footballers in the Lidl NFL.

So far it has been a mixed bag, with two wins, two defeats, and a draw, but in both losses, they can consider themselves a little unlucky not to at least get a draw.

In their loss to Dublin, they were the better side for most of the game and you could boil it down to about 10 minutes of poor play that cost them dearly.

Against Galway, they started poorly, but again finished well and were it not for a last-minute goal-line clearance could have snatched a win.

Going into last Sunday’s clash with Donegal they needed a win to make 100% sure they couldn’t be sucked into a relegation battle and that they did.

They were simply superb and any day you hit five goals and win by 5-11 to 0-1 is a good one.

With only two games to go, we now have a fair idea of where most sides are at and where the Rebels are at.

The last two encounters, with Kerry first and then Meath, will need to be used to try and settle on a side for the fast-approaching Munster championship.

Overall it has been a good campaign with Cork unearthing a few new players and some others coming of age as they have a little bit more experience.

The Leahy sisters, Sarah and Rachel, have been outstanding so far as have others like Emma Cleary, Aoife Healy, Libby Coppinger, and Orlaith Cahalane.

Eimear Kiely is another to say you can’t leave me out of the championship side, along with the likes of Roisin Phelan and Hannah Looney.

 Hannah Looney, Cork, and Cait Gillespie, Donegal, rise for possession. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Hannah Looney, Cork, and Cait Gillespie, Donegal, rise for possession. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The squad is, without a doubt, stronger this year and it still has key players like Doireann O’Sullivan and Laura Fitzgerald to return.

But judging on the form of others thus far they are going to have to fight for their places in the starting 15 as they certainly won’t walk back in easily.


Of all the provincial championships in ladies football Munster is probably the hardest one to win, with the Kingdom showing the type of form they did last year as they top the league at the moment and Waterford have also had a good campaign.

But the most likely winner will come from one of the old enemies and expect the trophy to reside in the Kingdom or the Rebel county come the end of the championship.

So Cork’s clash with Kerry on St Patrick’s Day is one that both sides will want to lay down a marker in, as we don’t like losing to them and vice versa.

At this stage of the league last season Cork had to beat Waterford to avoid a relegation play-off and that they did.

A lot was learned from last year’s league, Munster, and All-Ireland championships by manager Shane Ronayne in his first year in charge.

This year it’s obvious that Cork are in a better position and are more than capable of mounting a serious challenge for both Munster and All-Ireland titles.

Nothing has been won yet but the signs are good and with a little luck the Brendan Martin Cup just might make its way back to Leeside later on in the year.

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