On July 1st 2004 Clonakilty Ladies Football Club was formed with thirteen committee members and four underage teams, an Under 8, Under 10, Under 12 and Under 14. In those short 8 years, our club has grown to be one of the biggest and most successful in both Cork County and Munster. We now field Under 8, Under 10, 2 Under 12’s, 2 Under 14’s, Under 16, Minor, Under 21, Junior, Senior & Gaelic for Mums. We have had tremendous success both on and off the field and we are honoured to be part of a wonderfully successful and hardworking club.
Clonakilty Ladies Football Club fielded their first adult team in 2006 at Junior D Level and the first few years were very hard for these ladies. However, with the addition of some Kilmeen girls and the return of our own girls from the Kilmeen Club things changed. 2009 was an incredible year for them, being promoted to Junior A and wining League, County, Munster & All-Ireland titles. In 2010 they competed at Senior A level and while this was a huge leap for any team, it did not faze the girls; rather they relished the challenge that lay ahead. As a result of games played the girls found themselves in the incredible position of contesting a Senior B County Final, in their inaugural year at this level. Their opponents were St. Vals, a very established senior outfit with many years of experience at senior level. However, that did not deter the girls and on the day they played superb football and emerged as winners on a score line of 3-11 to 1-5. This was truly an awesome achievement to go from Junior A Champions in 2009 to Senior B Champions in 2010. In 2011 they reached the Senior A County Semi-Final to be beaten by Mourneabbey.
In 2010 & 2011 because of the huge number of girls playing the game, the club entered a second adult team at Junior C level. Initially there were doubts as to whether the club would even manage to find the minimum of 30 to 40 adult players needed throughout the year and it was thought that just fielding a team would represent success. However, as with the senior performances, there was no need to worry and a combination of extremely talented younger players and experienced players who have played through the adult clubs formative years saw the team progress all the way to the county final where after a great start they were eventually beaten by a Bantry side, being that club’s first team. Since then the junior team has also progressed to the West Cork finals. This is a particularly important achievement as it gives every adult player in Clon the chance to contribute to a successful team and means that the good work being done in underage and school teams is being recognised by bringing more players through to the adult levels. It also means that out of 60+ ladies football clubs in Cork, Clonakilty is now one of only 4 or 5 that field successful senior and junior 15 a side teams. It’s a long, long way to come in 8 short but exciting years!
2010 was the first year entering a team in the County U21 Tournament. This was a very tough campaign, very closely fought and they eventually reached the County Final. However, they were unfortunate on the day loosing out to an exceptional Mourneabbey team but it was a great experience for all involved. In 2011 they again reached the County Final which has yet to be played, their opponents will be Inch Rovers.
Our Minor Team was entered in Grade B. Four teams were involved in the West Cork section, and whilst they were successful against Courcey Rovers, they were defeated by Gabriel Rangers & Valley Rovers, thereby exiting the tournament for 2010. 2011 was a much better year for the Minors when they reached the county final but after a fantastic display of football lost out to Fermoy. They were also beaten in the West Cork Final by Bantry.
The U16 ladies had a busy season in 2010 year, playing challenge games against Coursey Rovers, Dohenys and Kinsale. They met Valley Rovers, Gabriel Rangers, Coursey Rovers, Rosscarbery and Bere in the West Cork, beating Rosscarbery in the play-off to go forward to the Premier A County Championship. This proved a step too far for the girls who were beaten by a very strong St. Vals side. 2011 wasn’t a very successful year for these girls either but the great thing about most of this age group is that they train and play with the minors, U21s, junior and senior ladies teams, something which will stand to them in the future.
Clonakilty U14 girls enjoyed good years in 2010 & 2011 with large numbers turning up for training. Two teams were entered in the West Cork Leagues. The West Cork Championship threw up some amazing games and both Clon teams at times showed great teamwork and individual skill, plenty to look forward to. In 2011 a group of girls, the U13’s, were chosen to represent Cork on Ladies All Ireland Final day. They won a competition launched by Croke Park with the help of Anne Calnan, Eileen Collins, Julie Tyrell and all the girls, parents, coaches etc. A bus travelled to Croke Park on the day to watch the girls perform, it was a tremendous occasion for both the girls, their coaches, parents and everyone who travelled to see them on the day.
As with the U14’s, due to the large numbers of girls training in 2010 & 2011 two teams were fielded and a total of over 30 games were played. The girls showed great commitment and dedication to training and always came off the field at the end of games with a smile on their faces and wanting to know when their next match was on. The girls were an inspiration to all those who watched their games and always displayed a very positive attitude, they are tremendous ambassadors for the club.
Clonakilty have 70+ U8 & U10 girls registered. They train every Monday night and are a fantastic bunch of girls. They played a few friendly games during the year but the emphasis here is on having fun. They finished up their year with a “Street League” and every girl was presented with a trophy on the final night. A party followed this and all were sorry that training had finished for another year.
Gaelic For Mums:
Gaelic for Mums commenced in Clonakilty in 2009 and was the brainchild of Eileen Collins, who vowed to get the ladies to Croke Park on All-Ireland Final Day. Training commenced with a small group and has gone from strength to strength, with now over 30 mums training. 2 teams took part in a blitz in Mourneabbey and their dreams came true when the ladies were picked to play in Croke Park on Ladies All-Ireland Final Day in 2010. A big crowd travelled to Croke Park to cheer on the mums and a great day was had by all. Gaelic for Mums is non-competitive and is all about having some fun and a laugh and that they certainly do! They have just recommenced training on Friday nights and all are welcome.
Munster Club Person Of The Year:
2009 was a great year for our Club in many ways but none more so than when our very own Club Secretary at the time, Mary Finn, was selected as the Munster Club Person of the Year. Mary was an incredibly hard working secretary and mentor to the Minor Team and still works tirelessly to promote the Club and its activities. Mary travelled to Croke Park to be honoured and was accompanied by family, friends and club mates who were all delighted to share in Mary’s success.
Clonakilty hosted their first Munster 7’s tournament in June 2011. A huge amount of work went into organising this occasion and it was a tremendous success. Teams from all over Munster competed at both Junior & Senior level and the facilities at Ahamilla were first class. Plans are underway to host the tournament again this year with dates etc to be confirmed shortly.
In our short 7 years in existence we have had many successes at County Team Level. Over the years we have been represented at U14, U16, Minor & Senior B County Level, many of them having won Munster & All Ireland Medals.