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Kerry management are quietly confident as schoolgirls prepare for Gaynor Cup challenge

Kerry captain Kate Ford looking forward to the competition in UL

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Team and management ( Michael Crossan, Natasha O'Sullivan) for the Kerry Gaynor Cup squad in Killarney recently Photo by Tatyana McGough

Team and management ( Michael Crossan, Natasha O'Sullivan) for the Kerry Gaynor Cup squad in Killarney recently Photo by Tatyana McGough

Team and management ( Michael Crossan, Natasha O'Sullivan) for the Kerry Gaynor Cup squad in Killarney recently Photo by Tatyana McGough

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Kerry’s Gaynor Cup odyssey gets underway on Tuesday, June 7 at the University of Limerick.

The Gaynor Cup is the schoolgirls counterpart of the famous Kennedy Cup, which caters for fourteen year old players to impress.

The co-managers of the Kingdom’s Gaynor Cup team are Michael Crossan and Natasha O’Sullivan and like everyone else they are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead. This year it will be played as the same venue as the Kennedy Cup.

Michael Crossan says they are very happy that both competitions are staged at the same venue and ensures that both teams will have great support.

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“After all the restrictions last year it is great that the competition won’t have any disruptions this year,” Crossan said.

“We have done all the preparations the players are fit and ready to go and hopefully do well in the competition.”

Crossan is very confident that the team will step up to the plate and do the county proud.

“All the players gave great commitment and dedication during the coaching and training sessions and they built a great bond of friendship between each other. We are delighted with our squad and were are confident we will match other sides in our group.”

Asked about his expectations in the tournament he said the ultimate aim of course is to try and win the group or are least be runner-up.

“It is impossible to gauge accurately how the team will fare but from what we have seen so far from the squad we are confident they will acquit themselves in the tournament.

"The serious side of it is not far away, but everyone is geared up for it and the girls can’t wait for the first game.”

Natasha O’Sullivan says that everyone involved are gearing up for a very special occasion.

“We have played a few competitive games in recent weeks and that is great as it gives the players a chance to play at competitive level. Everything has gone very smoothly so far and it is now getting near the big event.

"All the girls have been great, have trained hard and created a lot of fun along the way. We had great fun over in Clare a few weeks ago and greatly helped the morale of the side.

“We are third seeds in our group so we face a stiff test as we are in with last year’s winners Desmond League while Tipperary are also very strong.”

The captain of the Gaynor Cup team is Kate Ford and like everyone else she is really looking forward to the competition. She plays with Killarney Celtic so she has had some great coaching along the way. She says she is very proud to be representing her county as are all the rest of the squad.

“We have had a few matches over the past few weeks which is a big help for what lies ahead. We have a very good squad of players and we will do our very best to try and get as far as we can in the competition.

“There is a great camaraderie among the players and there is a great atmosphere in our training sessions. As well as players we have become close friends as well and this bonding builds a big spirit among the squad.”

Vice-captain Laura Falvey, who plays with Listowel Celtic, is also optimistic.

“We have prepared very well and all the girls can’t wait for the first game. It would be great to win our first game and it would give us a huge boost ahead of the two games the next day,” Falvey said.

It was very noticeable that the Gaynor Cup team are much bigger than the Kennedy Cup squad and that could be to their advantage when they meet the big teams in their group.

Introducing the Gaynor Cup Squad

The co-manager of the team Nathasha O’Sullivan thanked everyone who turned up for the function especially the parents and relatives of the players.

She said she wanted to pay tribute to the coaches for their dedication. Players were pushed to the limit but there was a lot of fun also along the way.

“All the players have been great and the bond of friendship that was generated over the past couple of months was fantastic. They are a great bunch of girls and they have other great talents such as dancing and signing as well,” she joked.

O’Sullivan then left it to the captain of the team Kate Ford to introduce the squad and there was a tremendous applause as she named out her players.

The co-manager wished the very best of luck to the Kennedy Cup team.

Kerry are grouped Gaynor Cup with South Tipperary, Limerick Desmond, Limerick County and Cork.

The following are the players on the 2022 KSBGL Kerry Gaynor Cup squad. Eight clubs are represented on the squad.

Killarney Celtic: Anne O’Shaughnessy, Caoimhe O’Sullivan, Emily Buckley, Hannah Casey, Liadh Forde, Emma Daly, Grainne Kelliher, Kate Forde
Camp Juniors: Ciara Casey, Miriam Sheehan and Ava Dillon
Inter Kenmare: Erin O’Sullivan, Phoebe O’Shea, Hazel Mulcahy, Klaudia Merchel
Dingle Bay Rovers: Hayley O’Flaherty
MEK Galaxy: Sadhbh Curran
Listowel Celtic: Laura Falvey
Fenit Samphires: Grace Reilly
St Brendan’s Park: Jocelyn Cushen

Holly Boyle was a valued member of the squad but injury ruled her out and the League wishes her a speedy recovery and hopefully she will be in UL to cheer on the girls.
Manager / Coach: Michael Crossan
Manager: Natasha O’Sullivan
Assistants / Logistics: Caragh Kelly, Aishling Kelly

Fixtures

Kerry open their group campaign at 6pm on June 7 against South Tipperary. Wednesday will see two games starting with Limerick Desmond kicking off at 12.30pm and then taking on Limerick County from 6pm.

The group phase ends with a game against Cork at 12 noon on Thursday. The knock-out phase begins in the afternoon.


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