Soccer starlet Saoirse Noonan to feature for Cork minors

Irish international soccer star Saoirse Noonan will line out for Cork in today’s All-Ireland Ladies minor football final against Dublin (4.45pm, live on TG4).

Noonan returned to John Cleary’s squad prior to the Munster final against Kerry, and in her subsequent two appearances she registered 1-11.

The Nemo Rangers star has missed much of the last year given her commitment to the Irish U17 women’s European Championships qualifying campaign, but Noonan is expected to start in Pearse Park, Longford, as Cork bid for back-to-back titles.

Dublin will be looking to win their first title since 2012, having dispatched Armagh in the semi-final a fortnight ago.

Former Cork U21 boss John Cleary is at the helm again this season and is bidding to retain the with several of last year’s starting team in the side — Emma Spillane (Bantry), Aisling O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), Beatrice Casey (Boherbue), Mairead O’Sullivan (St Val’s), Laura Cleary (Eire Og) and Ciara McCarthy (St Val’s).

McCarthy was hugely impressive at midfield in Cork’s semi-final win against Galway, and at just 16, is eligible to play minor again next year.

But, according to Cleary, the champions will have their work cut out for them having been put to the sword by the Tribeswomen.

“That was a tough game and they put us on the back foot in the first half and caught us for a few sucker punches of goals really. They went in at half-time four points up playing against the wind and we looked to be in a bit of bother, but in fairness to our girls they fought very hard. There’s some great fighting qualities in them when it comes to battles and we’ll need that again come Monday.”

With the fixture set for Pearse Park in Longford to cater for TG4’s live coverage and that of the two preceding senior championship qualifiers — Westmeath v Meath and 1.30pm and Donegal v Galway at 3pm — Cleary is irked.

“We’re a litt le bit disappointed in being taken up there. It’s a big journey for the west Cork contingent and the supporters more than anything else. It’s a huge trip and a lot nearer to Dublin, but from a playing point of view we’re getting a pitch and we’ll get on with it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the younger sister of former Cork ladies football star Valerie Mulcahy has been named the European AFL Player of the Week.

Onora Mulcahy, from Blarney in Cork, only took up the sport earlier this year, and now lines out for the Wandsworth Demons in the London Women’s League.

Working as an architect, Mulcahy lines out at ruck rover and has already impressed in the premiere Australian Rules league in Europe, while also getting called up to the Irish national squad.

The younger sister of 10-time All-Ireland winning football champion Valerie Mulcahy, Onora was an impressive ladies footballer herself, lining out for Rockbán at senior and intermediate level.


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