Cork City FC Women young stars enjoy welcome break at tournament in London

League results have been poor this season at Turner's Cross but players are staying positive
Cork City FC Women young stars enjoy welcome break at tournament in London

Cork City FC Women five-a-side tournament squad: Clodagh Fitzgerald, Laura Shine, Eva Mangan, Alix Mendez, former Chelsea player Katie Chapman, Heidi Mackin, Ellie O’Brien, Chloe Atkinson and Niamh Cotter.

A change is often as good as a rest. 

Eight lucky Cork City FC Women players got the opportunity to play in a five-a-side tournament in London away from the Women's Premier Division battle and they reached the final.

These really talented footballers whose quick feet and skill were advantageous in this five-a-side tournament won seven out of eight games played over one day.

Clodagh Fitzgerald, Alix Mendez, Heidi Mackin, Niamh Cotter, Chloe Atkinson, Eva Mangan, Ellie O’Brien and Laura Shine relished the opportunity of playing against teams outside of Ireland and captain Mangan spoke about the experience.

“It was a really enjoyable few days as it was nice to come away from a competitive football environment with City even though we were still competitive over there it was nice to have fun and enjoy ourselves and have a laugh on the pitch and not taking it too serious,” said Mangan. 

"We went to a WSL game, Chelsea v Everton, and it was class. Seeing players like Lauren James and Millie Bright up close was unreal but the tournament itself was so enjoyable with 32 teams entered so it was very busy around the place but we all enjoyed it.” 

Niamh Cotter and Alix Mendez congratulate each other on reaching the final.
Niamh Cotter and Alix Mendez congratulate each other on reaching the final.

The girls had travelled to Dublin two days previously to play Shamrock Rovers in the National League and with only three hours sleep, they boarded a flight to London to experience what they said was an unbelievable weekend from start to finish.

“Overall, it was a fantastic experience. We travelled over with coaches Danny Murphy and Craig Robinson and stayed in a great hotel receiving top-class hospitality.

“We arrived at the venue which was a great atmosphere. We were all kitted out with fantastic kit from Puma including football boots also which was brilliant. 

The tournament itself was set up brilliantly with music played throughout which set the tone of a very enjoyable competition.

“We started off in a group stage and we played three games, we all got the same game time. We said we would swap every five minutes as the games were 10 minutes so that was a good idea. We topped the group stages comfortably scoring 23 goals and then we went into a knockout stage and made the final. 

"Looking back at it now it’s annoying that we lost as we could have easily won the final but we were all wrecked from the travel and the whole day itself. It was cool seeing the different levels of football over there as some of them were from academies like West Ham or community teams."


While results have been disappointing back home in the National League, it was great for the girls to get a bit of a lift playing in a non-pressurised environment and hopefully now they can bring that form into the second half of their league campaign.

“It was great to play with nobody actually judging you on results or performances. It was also nice at the start of the tournament when Danny said he was just there if we needed to ask him anything and he wanted us to take full control of the tournament who went on who played etc, so it was nice to play with no pressure and have a laugh with the girls.

“It was a really good experience for us all to play against teams in academies over in England and community teams so it was nice for us to come up against different quality levels, we got on great as a group we’re all the similar age.

“I think the highlight was definitely the tournament itself it was very well run, getting boots as well we were all delighted. But definitely, the Chelsea game was class to see players that have just won the Euros with England in person and to see the skill level because it’s so different when you’re watching it on TV I think. They beat Everton six nil so we got loads of goals.

“It was a fully funded trip by Puma, it was a great opportunity and experience that we’re all very grateful for and memories that we will have for a very long time. We all enjoyed ourselves very much."

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