Cork ladies football: Minor, U16 and U14 teams impress this season

Ger McCarthy reviews the recent LGFA inter-county action
Cork ladies football: Minor, U16 and U14 teams impress this season

Ladies football: The Cork LGFA U16 B team that defeated Kerry 2-12 to 0-5 in the Munster LGFA U16 championship recently.

CORK'S Minor, U16 and U14 squads are enjoying productive starts to their respective Munster LGFA championship campaigns.

It is early days but a winter of trialling to get on the Cork LGFA minor, U14 and U16 panels has seen the county’s emerging talents begin to make their mark at inter-county level.

The focus on player development, more so than results, is apparent even at the beginning of this year’s provincial underage championships. Every young female inter-county footballer is getting requisite game-time and a chance to show what they can do.

All the Cork minor, U16 and U14 mentors hard work on the training ground has been put to the test in recent weeks.

Under manager JJ Deasy, the county’s U14’s began their provincial campaign at Mallow’s GAA grounds last Saturday. A (Stage 1) non-graded monster blitz saw the Cork U14s play five matches of 20 minutes duration against Clare, Kerry, Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick.

Cork LGFA U14 captain for 2023, Maeve Buckley from the Ballincollig club.
Cork LGFA U14 captain for 2023, Maeve Buckley from the Ballincollig club.

No scores or scorers were recorded. Instead, every member of JJ Deasy’s U14 panel got equal game-time, a minimum of two and a half matches per player, against quality opposition.

Next up for the Cork U14s is a (Stage 2) provincial grading blitz in early April. The format of that blitz is yet to be confirmed but it will be competitive and determine the Munster U14 LGFA A, B and C finalists scheduled for April 23.

Prior to last weekend’s blitz, JJ Deasy named his captains and vice-captains for the upcoming Munster and All-Ireland U14 LGFA championships. Ballincollig’s Maeve Buckley will captain the side with Kinsale’s Hannah Deasy and Delanys Hayley Sweeney named as vice-captains.

The Cork U16 A and Bs completed their third round of Munster LGFA championship matches last weekend. An away trip to Tipperary saw Kieran O’Shea (U16A) and John Callaghan and Kenneth Burns’ (U16B) squads continue their inter-county seasons.

Prior to Sunday’s games, the Cork U16As maintained a consistent start to their provincial championship with victory over Kerry in Cloughduv the weekend before. Laura Walsh, Caoimhe Horgan, Johanna Foskin, Eabha Nagle and Aisling Leahy were amongst the Rebels’ scorers in a 3-4 to 1-6 win.

Again, the fact over 400 players trialled to make the final Cork U16 A panel of 30, representing 16 clubs, is far more important than results when it comes to developing the county’s aspiring U16 footballers.


The same is true of the Cork U16Bs who bounced back from a narrow defeat to Limerick by overcoming Kerry. Shona Cronin, Saoirse Moynihan, Ellen Connolly and Lauren Finnegan were on Cork’s scoresheet in a 2-12 to 0-5 triumph.

Both the Cork U16 As and Bs will conclude their respective Munster LGFA round-robin championship games on April 2nd (round 4) and April 9th/10th before, hopefully, qualifying for the provincial finals weekend on April 15-16.

There was huge interest in trialling for this year’s Cork minor panel under new manager Jamie Cronin. The Rebels have been in excellent form throughout the early rounds of their Munster LGFA round-robin competition, defeating Tipperary and Limerick before facing off against an undefeated Waterford in Killeagh.

Cronin’s willingness to hand opportunities to each squad member means competition for places on the Cork starting fifteen is incredibly fierce. Some of the Cork players to throw their hands up for future selection included Síofra Patwell, Millie Condon, Kaie O’Donnell, Lily Murray, Amy Sheppard, Briana Smith, Ciara Morrison and Deirdre Cronin in a commanding 3-14 to 1-4 defeat of the Déise.

Next up for the Cork minors is a crunch encounter away to Kerry on March 25 before concluding the round-robin section of the Munster LGFA championship at home to Clare on April 8th. Should they qualify, Cork will contest a provincial decider on April 22.

Cork LGFA minor captain and dual star, Millie Condon was in the news last week. 

The Ballinascarthy Camogie and Clonakilty LGFA player became the first-ever recipient of the West Cork Sports Star Paudie Palmer Youth award.

Condon won All-Ireland LGFA and Camogie minor medals during a stellar 2022 where the versatile dual player also picked up an All-Ireland Schools Senior C football title with Sacred Heart secondary school in Clonakilty.

Winning the 2022 Munster LGFA Young Player of the Year cemented a remarkable year for Condon who is playing an equally important dual role for her county once again this year.

Millie Condon accepted her West Cork Sports Star Paudie Palmer Youth award from guest of honour and legendary former Kilkenny senior hurling manager, Brian Cody, at a ceremony held in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery.

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