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Cork's All-Star O'Sullivan sisters return as panel named for championship opener against Kerry

Ephie Fitzgerald’s Rebels travel to Tralee on another busy weekend of ladies football action.

THE CORK LADIES footballers have unveiled a 30-strong panel to face Munster rivals Kerry in their TG4 All-Ireland senior championship opener this weekend. 

Ephie Fitzgerald’s side face the Kingdom at Austin Stack Park in Tralee on Saturday [throw-in 3pm, live on TG4].

o suls Sister Act: Ciara and Doireann O'Sullivan. Source: Inpho.

All round-robin fixtures are meant to take place at a neutral venue, but after the Ladies Gaelic Football Association [LGFA] were unable to find one, a coin toss decided who would take home advantage.

The Leesiders will cross the county border in force, having named a strong squad as they look to return to competitive action on a winning note after the Covid-19 layoff.

The All-Star Sister Act of captain Doireann, and eight-time All-Ireland winner Ciara O’Sullivan return to the starting line-up for the first time in 2020 after taking an extended break in the early stages of the league due to another hectic club campaign with back-t0-back national champions Mourneabbey.

Saoirse Noonan, who balances her inter-county commitments with top-level soccer, starts alongside the O’Sullivan sisters in a hugely talented forward line which also includes Orla Finn, Áine O’Sullivan and Orlagh Farmer.

Another star forward in Eimear Scally is absent from the matchday panel, having shared strong thoughts on Gaelic games going ahead in the current climate and her recent injury struggles with The Southern Star earlier this year. It’s unclear whether either is the reason behind her absence, or if she is involved and just not included in the 30 this week.

Niamh Cotter, who enjoyed a successful club football campaign with Dublin outfit Kilmacud Crokes this summer, Shauna Kelly and Rhona Ní Bhuachalla are other notable absentees this weekend, while Emma Spillane previously opted out for 2020.

eimear-scally-and-aoife-ocallaghan Eimear Scally facing Kerry last summer. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Meanwhile, dual star Hannah Looney and Mourneabbey’s Máire O’Callaghan form the midfield partnership once again, Looney positioned further out the field after the return of 2018 All-Star Roisin Phelan.

Phelan starts at full-back on Saturday in a familiar defence, with Martina O’Brien in goals and no shortage of familiar faces and rising talents on the bench.

Having made her return to the Cork set-up earlier this year after a lengthy absence, back-to-back All-Ireland winning club captain Bríd O’Sullivan is among the substitutes, as is Kinsale younster Caoimhe O’Callaghan.

That said, the challenge ahead is a tough one with Kerry full of confidence after their opening win over Cavan where attacking duo Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Síofra O’Shea led the way.

Just the group winners progress to the semi-finals so if the Kingdom win, Cork — who last won the Brendan Martin Cup in 2016, though have always been there or thereabouts over the last few years — are effectively out. 


1. Martina O’Brien (Clonakilty)

2. Aisling Kelleher (St Valentine’s)
3. Roisin Phelan (St Brigid’s, Dublin)
4. Eimear Meaney (Mourneabbey)

5. Melissa Duggan (Dohenys)
6. Shauna Kiely (Araglen Desmonds Bui)
7. Aisling Hutchings (Fermoy)

8. Máire O’Callaghan (Mourneabbey)
9. Hannah Looney (Aghada)

10. Orlagh Farmer (Midleton)
11. Ciara O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey)
12. Orla Finn (Kinsale)

13. Áine O’Sullivan (Beara)
14. Doireann O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey)
15. Saoirse Noonan (Nemo Rangers)


16. Lisa Crowley (Éire Óg)
17. Erika O’Shea (Macroom)
18. Clare O’Shea (Beara)
19. Eimear Kiely (Valley Rovers)
20. Bríd O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey)
21. Daire Kiely (Valley Rovers)
22. Sadhbh O’Leary (Kinsale)
23. Maebh Cahalane (Éire Óg)
24. Emma Cleary (Éire Óg)
25. Laura Cleary (Éire Óg)
26. Abbie O’Mahony (Glanmire)
27. Caoimhe O’Callaghan (Kinsale)
28. Eve Murphy (Bantry Blues)
29. Libby Coppinger (St Colum’s)
30. Katie Quirke (Bride Rovers).


Elsewhere, Tipperary have named their starting team to face Monaghan in tomorrow’s Friday Night Lights clash at Parnell Park [throw-in 7.30pm, live on TG4].

Aishling Moloney, who starred last week as they fell agonisingly short to last year’s finalists Galway, starts at full-forward once again with Aisling McCarthy in midfield. Orla O’Dwyer is absent this week.

This weekend’s TG4 All-Ireland senior championship fixtures

Friday, 6 November 

  • Group 2, Round 2: Monaghan v Tipperary – Parnell Park, Dublin, 7.30pm, live on TG4

Saturday, 7 November  

  • Group 3, Round 2: Waterford v Dublin – Baltinglass, Wicklow, 1pm, live on LGFA Facebook page.
  • Group 4, Round 2: Mayo v Tyrone – Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, 1pm, live on LGFA Facebook.
  • Group 1, Round 2: Cork v Kerry – Austin Stack Park, 3pm, live on TG4


Subscribe to The42′s new member-led GAA Championship show with Marc Ó Sé and Shane Dowling. 

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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