All Ireland Final - Junior Ladies Journey 2015 2015-12-04 14:53:00

Drummey hails Bantry’s Incredible development.

It was 2004 before Debbie Delaney succeeded in getting ladies football off the ground in Bantry.

By the end of October that year, the newly formed club celebrated a first county title — the U12 girls defeating Nemo Rangers in the decider.

The first adult team was fielded in 2009, with junior C success arriving the following year. A county junior B title was added in 2012 and tomorrow afternoon at the Gaelic Grounds, six of the team that lined out against Nemo Rangers 11 years ago will step inside the whitewash for the biggest hour in the club’s short history — the All-Ireland junior club final against Dunboyne (1.30pm throw-in) in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.

“The club’s progression over such a short period of time has been nothing short of incredible,” says joint-manager Paul Drummey.

Even more incredible when you consider the Bantry Blues junior ladies failed to win a single championship match in 2014.

Drummey and joint-manager Joe Downey came on board at the start of the year and aside from the recent West Cork championship defeat to Kinsale, their copybook shows not a single blot.

St Vals’ second team were put away (1-9 to 1-7) to secure passage to a first county junior final; Kinsale thumped in the decider (5-16 to 1-8).

Comeragh Rangers (3-19 to 1-3) and Templemore (1-11 to 1-9, AET) were overcome en route to provincial glory, with Ulster champions Steelstown (0-10 to 0-6) dispatched to book Bantry’s spot in the All-Ireland final.

“It has been a huge turnaround from last year really. This year has been a dream. The girls had never trained three times a week prior to this year and they have now been doing it for the last eight months.

“They were willing to make that effort to get themselves back on track, to get themselves over the line in terms of winning the junior county title. There was disappointment over how last year went and they wanted to right the wrongs of 2014.

“For us now to be looking forward to an All-Ireland final is absolutely massive.”

Backboning the team are Cork U21 trio Séadna O’Sullivan, Libby Coppinger and Ann Coakley, All-Ireland winning Cork minor Emma Spillane, former Fermanagh captain and adopted Bantry woman Edel McGovern, Jessica Coakley and Aoife Crowley.

“There is huge talent in the club. It was just about getting the talent out of them and progressing them as a team. Joe and I are still playing for Bantry. We are giving instructions to girls who are only a couple of years younger than us and yet they take everything on board.

“If we have a game-plan, they implement it to perfection. Down at training, they always want to listen, they always want to learn.

“I have been involved with plenty of male teams and you might not listen to everything that is said and you certainly won’t agree with everything that is said, but the application and the attitude of these girls is outstanding.”

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