Cork Senior championship off to great start

Co Senior Championship off to great start

Co Senior championship off to a great start. By Fr Liam kelleher

Last week-end saw the start of the Co Senior Football championship and a number of exciting games marked  the beginning of  this years competition.

Inch In Cruise Control

Inch Rovers 4-19 Liscarroll 1-9

The most eagerly looked forward game, was the clash between  holders  for the last  2   years  Inch Rovers and what had been perceived as the new super club  Liscarrol, last years Co Junior champions, boosted by the addition of 7 Cork players, from the defunct Rockchapel club.  This game drew a big crowd to Mourneabbey on Sunday evening and it looked to have lived up to its billing, in  the opening quarter, with Liscarroll matching the champions stride for stride and score for score, before going into the lead  1-4 to 1-1 One would have thought that this would have given Liscarrol the boost they needed, but they completely fell apart and  when the East Cork girls had drawn level by the 22nd minute, at 1-5 each, they never looked back. The game was virtually over as a contest by the short whistle, as Inch upped the ante and with some devastating moves, they mesmerized the bemused    Liscarroll girls. In the next 8 minutes they notched up  1-7,  without reply, with the pace of Amy O’Shea causing most damage and her tally of 2-4 bears ample testimony to this.  Hope springs eternal   and the large crowd , were full of expectations, that the Liscarrol mentors  would remedy the weaknesses,  particularly   in the fullback line,  in  the privacy of the dressing room, which would help them mount a serious  2nd half challenge. This they never did, in fact things got infinitely worse and  the game  descended into a bore, long before the end of an anticlimactic encounter. Inch could afford the luxury of withdrawing  Cork capt Mary O’Connor, who was replaced by Sandra Smiddy,  who was called ashore in the first half, no mercy here, and Jenny Duffy was introduced after a few weaknesses were exposed in the Inch defense, but their mentors moved early to plug  the gaps.   Despite the presence of Norita Kelly and Brid Stack,  two  of Cork’s outstanding players, they had to play 2nd fiddle in vital areas of the field,  for most of the game to an inspired Angela Walsh and a  hard working Orla Cotter.  Geraldine O’Flynn,  took her goal well and the O’Reilly sisters Deirdre and Sinead tried their hearts out, but they came up against an inspired Inch rovers side, intent on making a statement of intent for the year and what a statement they made. They were strong in every sector of the field. Mary Hayes was solid  as net minder and Ciara Walsh just returned from across the water, showed she has lost none of her   verve. Annie Walsh was a tower of strength in the pivotal role in defense, while up front the hard running Jessica O’Shea,  with Amy O’Shea who completed her hatrick in the 2nd half, as well as adding a point, made the greatest impact. What of Liscarroll  now? This  was a bad experience for them, they know  they have the personnel and only time will tell whether  this drubbing will leave  them deflated and dispirited. Certainly glaring weaknesses were exposed on Sunday evening, but now they know where they stand, whether they can comeback from this chastening lesson  reamins to be seen, as they await the losers round with interest, when they face Rockbán.

Mourneabbey Impress.

Mourneabbey 2-13 Naomh Fionbarra. 1-5

Also played on Sunday evening  was the eagerly awaited contest,  between last years Munster Itermediate Champions and All-Ireland finals Naomh Fionbarra and All-Ireland Intermediate cahmpions of 2 years ago youthful Mourneabbey.  The North Cork girls opted out of this competition last year,  but after their comprehensive win they,  emerged as the most likely contenders,  with Donoughmore, as pretenders to lower Inch Rovers colours. Mourneabbyey were forced to start without Roisin  O’Sullivan, suffering from a suspected knee cruciate injury even though she had played  earlier in the week,  with a heavily bandaged knee. She left the way open, for her younger sister, Doireann  capt of Cork’s All-Ireland under 14 team to fill the gap, but it was another sister Ciara,  who did most to blunt the Naomh Fionbarra challenge,  as her total of 1-6 outscored the oppositions total by a point. An upset looked on the cards, when Noelle McSweeney rifled the net in the early minutes to set up what was expected to be  a titanic struggle, but that was as good as it got for them and after Doireann O’Sullivan and Rhona Buckley had exchanged points the bubble burst for the West Cork girls,  when a 21 metre free from Ciara O’Sullivan found its way to the net. At half time the score was still at manageable proportions, for Naomh Fionbarra, to mount a comeback, 1-8 to 1-4,  but it never materialised and the tight marking Mourneabbey defense,  confined them to a point in the 2nd period, They   have perfected   their trade mark passing game and it will take  an inventive set of forwards to break them down, this Naomh Fionbarra, were not able to do,  despite their best efforts. Mourneabbey tagged on another 5 points,   three form Sheila O’Callaghan and 2 from Ciara, Brid O’Sullivan player of the match for Cork in their 9 in a row MUnster win over Kerry, the previous week, closed out the game  with an opportunist goal.

Donoughmore Dominate

Donoughmore  5-14 Beara 1-5

Former Champions Donoughmore,  sent out  clear message from Castletownkenneigh on Sunday, afternoon that they are  still a force to be reckoned with. Beara in fairness gave them one hell of  game for the opening  30 minutes,  but succumbed to the superior firepower of the Donougmore Girls led by former Cork Senior Aisling O’Connor. Miss O’Connor’s    fine form allied to the sterling defending of Cork Stars Rena Buckley and Linda Barrett laid the foundations for the Mid cork girls victory. Donoughmore jumped into an early lead with 3 points from  the ever  reliable Juliet Murphy and when Aisling O’Connor added a goal a landslide looked on the cards, but inspired Karen Con O’Sullivan the Beara girls fought back magnificently and leading the scoring   burst was Amanda Murphy, who has opted out of the Cork set up this year she was at her confident best in lobbing over points that reduced the gap, after Christine O’Sullivan, had  registered their opening score, after 10 minutes. Amanda was on hand to set up Vicki  Power for a goal after 17 minutes and Beara were back in the hunt, trailing by a point but  2 points from Patrice Kearney had Donoughmore leading by  just 3 points at the short whistle. But Beara had flattered to deceive. Driven on at midfield by former Rockchapel and Cork player  Regina Curtin and Juliet Murphy,  Donoughmore upped the ante and when Rena Buckley,  came forward to hit the net,  the writing was on the wall for the peninsula girls. Scorers Donoughmore Aisling O’Connor 3-1. Juliet Murphy 0-7 Louise Murphy 1-2. Rena Buckely 1-0  Patrice Kearney 0-2 Regina Curtin 0-2. Beara   Amanda Murphy 0-4  Vicki Power 1-0 Christine O’Sullivan 0-1

Stalemate in Kilmurray.

Gabriel Rangers 1-13 North Cork 2-10

Gabriel Rangers, were confidently expected, to lower the Colours of North Cork    at Kilmurry on Sunday evening, but in the end they had to depend on their ever consistent Claire O’Biren to eke out a draw with a late equalising goal. Both teams should have known that extra time would be required and the referee was informed of same, but both teams  refused to play on, threatening  to disrupt the well laid plans of the Co Board, to get all games played on time     this year. Both suffered for their  folly  and on Monday night, at the GPC meeting,  both were entered in the next round of the championship  on a ballot, with Gabriel Rangers declared for the winners slot,  with an intimidating joust with Donoughmore and North Cork for the losers spot, against Beara the winners to face St Vals. Both received hefty fines as a result.  North Cork against all the odd raced into a 5 point cushion at the break, with goals from Jenny Luddy and a penalty from Niamh Hickey. But Gabriels inspired by Nollaig Cleary and Claire O’Brien   came  back to earn a thrilling draw, what would have happened in extra time  is just conjecture and I suppose the pity is  that both denied themselves extra game time, which indeed would have been very valuable to both.

Monday  stroll for St Vals.

St Vals 6-12 Rockbán 2-3

On Monday evening St Vals and Rockbán met in the final game of the round  and as expected Vals ran out easy winners.

Other results.

Junior A Round 2

Nemo Rangers 3.20   Kildorrery 1-4.

Naomh Abán 6-15    Valley Rovers 4-10

Junior C 1

Coursey Rovers 2-8 Mitchelstown 1-8

12 a side

Passage 3-11 Kilshannig 3-11 AET

Div 3 League Final

Clanakilty 1-15 Glanworth 2-6

Div 4 League Final

Rosscarbery 4-13 Dromtariffe 2-3

Cork under 16’s look set for final.

On Sunday at Toomevara  at 1pm Cork take on Meath in the Under 16 All-Ireland Semi-final and if they can repeat the form they showed in a thrilling Munster final win over Kerry they will be firm favourites to advance. Cork should field along the same lines,  as they did in that final, if Lauren O’Callaghan and Michelle Lucey  have not recovered from Injury,  under 14 star Rachel O’Shea is likely to start. Cork’s rearguard formed a very solid unit in the Munster final and will give little away on Sunday.  Brid O’Sullivan POM  in Munster final and who starred fro Mourneabbey in the Senior Championship should be the lynchpin at midfield. Up front Cork have many attacking options with Jessica O’Shea and  Aine Cott well marshalled by Kerry set to cut loose,  with the dynamic Tara Maguire and Emily Phelan likely to make things hot for the Meath defenders Cork panel ,Fiona Cotter (Inch Rovers), Alana Barry (Dromtarrife),  Michelle Lucey (St Gabriels),, Alana Allen (Kinsale), Shauna Kelly (Ballydesmond), Emily Phelan (Carrigaline),  Jennifer Barry (Bride Rovers), Cliona Twohig (Castlemagner), Brid O Sullivan (Mourneabbey),  Roisin Phelan (Aghada), Jess O Shea (Inch Rovers), Kate O Brien (Bantry),

Tara McGuire (Rosscarbery), Aine Cott (Castlemagner)  Katie O Dea (Dromtarriffe),Lauren O Callaghan (Nemo) Niamh Barry (Midleton), Marika Cottrell (Boherbue), Sarah Barry (Carrigaline), Meadhbh Flynn (Ballincollig), Rachel Barrett (Donoughmore), Jennifer O Leary (Ballincollig), Jess Sheehan (Kinsale),    Roisin O Mahony (Ballincollig),     Catherine O Sullivan (St Michaels), Cait Mennis (Rosscarbery),  Ciara Spillane (Bantry), Jean O Sullivan (St Vals). Rachel O’Shea Beara,


Fr Liam Kelleher
Parochial House
Co. Cork
Tel 087-8516984

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