This week in WoW! we published a Ones to Watch Guide. Here's part one of the feature here. Read on to see who else made it onto our list, in part two of the features...
County Mayor, Gillian Coughlan
West Cork Fianna Fáil Councillor Gillian Coughlan holds the post of County Mayor and is half way through her year-long position. She has fulfilled many engagements during 2021 with many more on the horizon in 2022.
She stated following her nomination that her priority would be to help individuals and businesses navigate out of the pandemic - it’s a challenging task that continues.
Sinead Quinlan, comedian
Providing us with lots of laughs in 2021, we are in no doubt that she’ll be making us giggle throughout 2022 also. Her second serious of Seriously Sinead is on the RTÉ Player if you haven’t caught it already - following the success of the first season.
The 28-year-old, from Carrignavar, got to do some stand-up comedy gigs last year - but hopes to have her first solo show this year and perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Lorraine Nash, singer
Her star continues to rise. Her debut album is expected out in September. She’s supported Jack O’Rourke, John Spillane and The Lost Brothers this year and wowed at (Indiependence Presents) Autumn Air Showcase and The Ruby Sessions. She’s performed at the Triskel, Cork Opera House, Kinsale Arts Festival and Right Here Right Now Festival. She is also due to take part in the Templebar Trad Fest in January, 2022.
Andrea Williams, Dancer, Choreographer, Visual Artist, Stylist
What title doesn’t this fabulous lady have to her name? She wowed us in 2020 with her inaugural visual exhibition at St Peters. We know there’s more to come from Andrea, who was born in Cape Verde, an archipelago off the west tip of Africa, but has lived in Cork for many years.
Laura Hayes, Cork and St Catherine’s camogie
Laura Hayes is a player who has a huge future in the red and white of Cork. She graduated to the Cork senior camogie team in 2019 where she lined out at corner-back before moving out to the wing.
The Cork defender was outstanding in defence at club and county level in 2021. An All-Ireland Intermediate and Minor winner in 2018, she made the step up to the senior ranks brilliantly and the St Catherine’s player earned her first All-Stars nomination for her efforts in 2021.
Laura has made the step up to the senior ranks effortlessly over the last three years and contributed hugely as Cork made it to the All-Ireland final - she is a certainly a player to keep an eye out for in 2022.
Stephanie Rainey, singer
She’s had a phenomenal year, breaking back into the Irish charts with new music and a new perspective. Her new EP is due out April, when she heads out on her rescheduled headline tour.
Stephanie just released new single 13, with Shane Casey starring in the video.
She also just gave birth to her first child and hasn’t missed a beat in the meantime as she plans to release a new single in January, 2022.
Annabel Lolah, Bezateli
Ballincollig-based Annabel Lolah launched her brand, Bezateli this year. She recently featured in our My Wardrobe and My Style section in WoW!
Bezateli is an online marketplace for sustainable fashion brands and people who care about health, fitness, and the planet.
Annabel is passionate about empowering a healthy lifestyle and inspiring you to live your best life every day.
For more see https://www.bezateli.com/
Caoimhe Perdue, Hockey
UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue will be hoping to further enhance her international hockey career in 2022. She is the current co-captain of the U21 side, with fellow defender Caitlin Sherin, and should have taken part in the Women’s Junior World Cup in South Africa in recent weeks, with Covid concerns seeing the tournament cancelled.
Caoimhe tasted senior international action this year, lining out in a number of uncapped challenge matches for Ireland’s women against Great Britain in the spring.
The current UCC player is the first graduate of Cashel New Inn Hockey Club to reach this elite level and will be hoping to break into the full senior Irish squad as they bid to qualify for the World Cup, with the qualifying tournament taking place in 2022, pending on Covid.
Caoimhe, aged 21, is studying Nutritional Science at UCC.
Karen O’Reilly, founder of Employflex
Karen set up Employflex as a way to help women initially, but now also men, to get flexible work. This was long before the pandemic and we can expect some exciting things from Karen in 2022 as the company grows and helps more people find flexible work.
Catherine Sheridan, EI-H2
An engineer by profession, Catherine spent time recently with Ervia. However, she has now joined EI-H2, which is planning to build Ireland’s first hydrogen company in east Cork.
Catherine will be leading the way on this project and we can expect a lot from her in 2022 as she continues to pursue her green energy passion. She is very focused on community engagement, climate action, gender equity, promoting STEM, diversity and inclusion.
Fiona Kennedy, singer
Fiona has a new album due out in 2022 and will be touring it around Ireland. She is working with some great producers and musicians including Declan Sinnott, Christian Best, Bill Shanley and Cormac O’Connor.
Ladies footballer Sarah Leahy
The Aghada player enjoyed All-Ireland success at minor level. Naturally, the step up from minor to senior was a daunting one but Leahy believes she has finally settled into competing at the highest level.
“Honestly, I found it very tough at the start,” the Aghada player admitted. “It was my first year up at senior level and my Leaving Cert year as well. I had watched a lot of the older girls playing for Cork when I was younger. So, that was a bit daunting at the start. I felt more and more comfortable as time went on, once I got to know everyone in the squad. Training at senior level is definitely a big step up, fitness-wise and even more so, strength-wise.”
Sadly, injuries have curtailed her chances at senior level, but Sarah will be hoping to drive on in 2022 and secure a starting spot in the Cork senior team.
Grainne O’Keeffe, CEO, Ludgate
Award-winning Ludgate Hub Skibbereen announced the appointment of Grainne O’Keeffe as their CEO in July 2020.
Grainne, a Skibbereen native, brings over 20 years of international financial and innovation experience to the position. In 2017, Ludgate became Ireland’s first Gigabit Hub, powered by Vodafone /SIRO gigabit broadband connectivity. It currently supports 21 businesses and about 130 direct and indirect roles from a myriad of industries including tech, bio-economy, aviation services, and media production.
Rachel Daly, visual artist, based in Cork city
Rachel recently featured in the shortlist for the RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition - one of the most important platforms for visual art graduates in Ireland. She will have a solo show in April and we are excited to see what she brings. She graduated with a First Class Honours BA in Fine Art in 2021 from MTU Crawford College of Art and Design. Her degree show work earned several awards.
Jesse Mendez, soccer
Jesse is certainly a player to watch for 2022. The 19-year-old soccer star from Carrigaline begins her third year playing in the Senior Women’s National league.
Wanting more game time, the former Cork City and Wilton United player took a leap of faith and signed with Limerick outfit Treaty United last season, where she played a pivotal role both as a centre half and a centre midfielder.
Mendez’s commanding presence and her physical attributes will make her a stand out player for the Treaty outfit, with her hope of making it into the International home base camp.
Rachel Gleeson, Company Manager at Corcadorca
Renowned theatre company Corcadorca, who have been bringing groundbreaking theatre to the public for more than 30 years, go international in February, when they bring their production of Enda Walsh’s The Same to New York.
Rachel is producer on the production, which will run at the Irish Arts Centre, in NYC.
The production also features Cork actresses Eileen and Catherine Walsh and stage manager Aoife Clarke, who is also based in Cork.
What a powerhouse of Cork women to bring the production Stateside.