Billy Mangan Coaches Minor County Final.
Austin Stacks Park Friday 14th September @7.30.
The Kerry ladies minor championship made a welcome return this year having been absent from the fixtures calendar for a number of seasons. The championship was reformed as a district style competition, and despite the usual hiccups that a new format will bring, it has mostly been very well received by the teams that took part.
Central to the core of the competition has been the encouragement to give players of the minor age bracket as much game time as possible. Many young girls are lost to sport between the ages of 16 to 18, and one of the fundamental aims of the competition was to try and get as many as close to this age as possible playing in the games.
The two teams that have qualified for the final are worthy contenders. Mid Kerry look to be the stronger, and will go into the game as hot favourites. They have an abundance of Kerry underage players throughout their side and look to have a formidable line up. Players like Ciara Murphy, Tara Breen, Fiadhna Tangney, Hannah O’Donoghue, Ciara O’Brien, Kayleigh McGlashen, Ailbhe Cllifford and Mairead Lehane and have all worn the county minor jersey this year and Maeve Rochford and Caoimhe Evans are top class forwards. They can also call upon top Kerry U16 players like Rachel Evans, Ella Teahan, Clodagh Evans, Roisin Griffin and Maggie Kingston.
Mid Kerry started their minor championship with a very easy win over North Kerry and put a massive 5-17 on the scoreboard that day. They had a much tougher assignment against a strong East Kerry side in the semi final and after a ding dong battle came through on a 3-8 to 2-10 scoreline in the finish. There appears to be very few chinks in their armour, and there’s strength in depth throughout their panel.
St Kierans have a very different look about them in comparison. Labhaoise Walmsley and Kayla O’Connor both starred for the Kerry minors this year and are 2 of the players that they will be looking to for inspiration. Joyce O’Connor, Brid Moriarty, Siobhan Collins, Robyn White, Danni Reidy and Niamh Rahilly have also done really well in their campaign thus far. St Kierans can also call upon Kerry U16’s Gemma Kearney, Ciara Fitzgerald, Aisling O’Connell and Paris McCarthy.
The Castleisland District side began their campaign with a 4-9 to 2-5 victory over West Kerry in Lispole. Tralee awaited in the semi final but once again St Kierans came through on a 3-11 to 3-6 scoreline. They impressed in both games, but will have to improve further if they are to trouble Mid Kerry.
Whilst it looks like Mid Kerry should have too much quality for St Kierans, finals are notoriously difficult to predict and we could be in for a great game on Friday night.