SKIBBEREEN Community School finished the post-primary school season as Lidl Munster LGFA PPS Junior B and Senior C champions.
They may have come up short in their bid for All-Ireland post primary schools glory, but the future of ladies football remains bright within the corridors of Skibbereen CS.
A terrific campaign delivered success at provincial level in both the junior and senior grades.
Entered in the Lidl Munster LGFA PPS senior C Premier competition, Skibbereen CS began their season with a comprehensive 8-12 to 1-6 qualifying play-off defeat of Corcha Dhuibhne in Baraduff.
The West Cork school followed up that victory with an equally impressive quarter-final triumph over Ursuline Thurles, 8-11 to 5-3, on Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s 4G pitch.
Once again, Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s 4G pitch was the venue for Skibb’s provincial semi-final against St Anne’s, Tipperary, at the end of January. A 6-11 to 4-6 triumph was attained thanks to a superb all-round Skibbereen CS performance.
Coláiste Muire from Ennis were the West Cork school’s opponents in the Lidl Munster LGFA PPS senior C Premier decider in Mallow. 1-7 to 0-4 ahead at the break, Skibbereen went on to record a 2-11 to 1-8 victory before being presented with the provincial trophy.
Seven days earlier, the school’s junior team completed a successful run in their Lidl Munster LGFA PPS junior B championship.
Having overcome Ursuline Thurles 11-13 to 9-5 in an end-to-end high-scoring semi-final, Skibbereen CS took on Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in the decider. Ballyvourney GAA grounds was the venue for the provincial junior B final in which Skibbereen CS emerged victorious.
Armed with their provincial LGFA PPS senior C and junior B titles, the newly crowned Munster champions were handed tough All-Ireland final semi-final draws.
The West Cork side’s junior team came up short to Maynooth Educate Together school, 6-11 to 3-14.
Skibbereen CS faced St. Mary’s Naas in Fethard, Tipperary, on a 3G pitch in their All-Ireland senior semi-final. St Mary’s got off to the perfect start, scoring two goals inside the first 5 minutes.
The West Cork school settled and changed ends trailing 3-4 to 2-5. A cracking second period saw the sides level on numerous occasions. It was 3-8 apiece when Skibbereen CS managed to edge a couple of points in front early in the final quarter.
St Mary’s Naas had other ideas however, finding another gear to kick an unanswered 1-6. The Naas school ran out 4-14 to 3-9 winners despite a heroic Skibbereen effort. Maebh Collins 1-3 (0-2 frees), Aoife O’Driscoll, Niamh O’Sullivan (1-1 each), Hannah Sheehy (0-3) and Leah Carey (0-1) were on the community school’s scoresheet that afternoon.
Losing two All-Ireland semi-finals in quick succession should not detract from a superb year in which Skibbereen CS captured two provincial trophies.
Both senior and junior squads possessed strength in depth. Maebh Collins, Niamh O’Sullivan, Leah Carey, Kate Carey and Amy McKennedy are just a handful of the Cork inter-county players who lined out for the Skibbereen school this term.
A word too for the school’s LGFA team mentors. Ella Ryan, Anna Ward and Ger Carey’s dedicated work over the past number of years has seen Skibbereen CS develop into an annual provincial and All-Ireland contender.
Although 2023 ended in disappointment at the penultimate stages of their All-Ireland championships, there is much for the double-Munster winning school to look forward next year and beyond.
A post on the Skibbereen CS’s website best summed up the school’s appreciation of both of their LGFA teams’ hard work throughout 2022 and 2023.
“We wish to thank and acknowledge all the players and coaches’ effort and hard work during this campaign especially during those wet cold winter evenings.
“To get to the top four schools in the country is a huge achievement for these players and their school, their clubs and their families are extremely proud of them.
“We would like to particularly thank the coaches, Ms. Ella Ryan, Ms. Anna Ward and Mr. Ger Carey for all their hard work. It is very much appreciated.”
Tara O’Regan, Emma McCarthy, Eleanor Keating, Ellen Connolly, Laura O’Donoghue, Amy McKennedy, Ali Tobin, Leah Carey, Aoife O’Driscoll, Hannah Sheehy, Maureen Keating, Maebh Collins, Becky Sheehy, Niamh O’Sullivan, Katelyn McCarthy, Alison Deane, Kate Carey, Emma Hurley, Alaia O’Sullivan, Eabha O’Donovan, Ellie McCarthy, Ellen Buckley, Maeve O’Sullivan, Abaigh Buckley, Ciara Dennehy, Aoibhinn O’Connell, Orla McCarthy, Grace O’Donnell, Rachel Connolly, Katelyn O’Driscoll, Megan Fitzgerald, Jacinta Connolly, Carla O’Regan, Amy McCarthy and Katie Daly.
Ella Ryan, Anna Ward, Ger Carey.