THE Cork senior B ladies footballers enjoyed a very productive Munster LGFA championship campaign this year.
The Rebelettes were defeated by both Limerick and Clare’s first teams before they concluded their provincial campaign with a four-point win against Kerry.
Peter O’Leary who acted as the Cork senior B football manager said the players will benefit immensely from this year’s championship and they will return to their respective clubs as better players.
“Overall this year we have played ten games. This is comprised of three championship games and seven challenge games. We lost to Limerick in our first game, before losing very narrowly in our second game against Clare. We used all 30 players in the first two matches.
"We ended the Munster competition with a win against Kerry. We used all 27 players in our last game against Kerry. The players will have benefitted hugely from all the training sessions and games this year. They will go back to their clubs as better players,” he said.
A senior B competition was initiated back in 2007 by the LGFA recalled the Castletownbere native.
“It originally started out in 2007. I got involved in 2006 with the Cork junior team. We lost out in the Munster semi-final. At the end of the year, the authorities changed the second team into a senior B competition.
"Cork obviously entered it and I was the coach the first year. We won the All-Ireland. Fr Terry O’Brien who got me involved with Cork ladies football was in charge. He was the manager and I was the coach. He left at the end of 2007 and I took over the manager’s job in 2008 and 2009. In those three years, we won the three-in-a-row.”
The main remit of the senior B competition was to help bridge the gap between the minor and senior ranks. Peter said their three-in-a-row team unearthed a number of young talented players for the senior team.
“I7 of that team went up to the senior squad over the course of the three years. That is what it is always about. It was always about trying to get players up.
"Martina never played underage with Cork. Her first Cork appearance was with the senior B team. She was our goalkeeper with us over those three years before she moved up to the senior team.
“I was involved with the Cork senior team with Eamonn as well at the same time. I finished up at the end of 2009 and I went away coaching Waterford. It stayed senior B for another year before it changed to a U21 All-Ireland for another three or four years before it was then stopped after a decision which made no sense,” he added.
To cater for the growing demand for more adult games within ladies football, the Munster LGFA re-established the senior B championship at a provincial level last season. Peter revealed that four of last year’s team moved up to the full senior team this year.
“Munster in fairness restarted it again last year. Both Cork and Kerry entered a team in it, but the other counties pulled out. We played Kerry in a home and away game. It was great for the players as the games were very competitive. Four of last year’s team are on this year’s panel. We also played a few challenge games last year.”
Cork was joined by Kerry, Clare, and Limerick in this year’s Munster LGFA senior B championship which proved very beneficial for the Cork players said the manager.
“Clare’s first team and Limerick’s first team entered this year’s competition. They are strong teams. Limerick had lost their national league semi-final to Antrim, while Clare had lost their league final to Kildare after extra time. They had more game time and strength in conditioning than us and it showed. Clare is competing in the intermediate championship, while Limerick is in the junior championship.
"We were very clear with the players from the start of the year that their club comes first. If there was a clash with club games, their club took priority.”
Peter was joined by Brian Collins (Kinsale), Ken Whelan (Nemo Rangers) and Colette O’Neill (Erins Own) in the coaching team. Peter paid tribute to his management team.
“We trained once a week from February on. For every two training sessions we had, we played a game. We met up 28 times. I had former Castlehaven senior footballer Brian Collins assisting me as a coach. His daughter Sophie who plays with Kinsale was on the panel. Sophie was in goal for the Cork U14 team who won the All-Ireland. Brian was a huge help. He has vast knowledge and experience. I played college football with Brian. We get on great. He was the first person I approached at the end of last year to get involved.
“Ken Whelan looked after the goalkeepers. Colette O’Neill was our female liaison officer. We had a professional setup. I won’t do it any other way. The girls were great to work with. We had great banter and good fun. We had a couple of great characters on the panel,” he added.