Gráinne Mhaols adult team played its first ever match at Junior A level on St Patrick’s Day 2003.
Gráinne Mhaols 5-7, Dunmore 2-8 There was an overwhelming sense of Gráinne Mhaols having truly arrived on the Galway Ladies Football scene, in the aftermath of this excellent victory over an impressive Dunmore outfit in Dunmore. Dunmore showed tremendous character to come back strongly on three different occasions but in the final analysis, the higher fitness levels and greater physical power of the West Connemara girls gave them the vital edge in the final ten minutes and they put in a storming finish to silence the home support.
Gráinne Mhaols impressive start was reflected in three quick points inside the opening eight minutes. Mairéad Coyne fired over the first after fielding a long delivery from Geraldine McTavish. Nicola Walsh added a close range free before Lisa Coohill curled over a real beauty from a difficult angle after a surging solo run down the left wing. Dunmore were well rattled but with county star Geraldine Conneely beginning to find her rhythm in midfield they came back into it with two excellent points from Sinead Nestor and Caitlin Quinn respectively. However the westerners regained the initiative on 18 minutes when Mairéad Coyne blasted an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net after being put through by Lorraine Heffernan. Two minutes later, disaster struck for the home side when a long range effort from Lisa Coohill caused panic in the Dunmore full back line and the ball ended up in the back of the net amidst all the confusion.
Gráinne Mhaols now led by 2-3 to 0-2 but Dunmore rallied superbly with two goals of their own. Geraldine Conneely fed Natalie Moloney for the first and moments later Geraldine Conneely was once again the instigator of a move that saw Caitlin Quinn set up Sinead Burke for an emphatic finish to the roof of the net. These quickfire goals cut the deficit to the minimum but the Gráinne Mhaols ability to respond positively in the face of adversity saw them pull away once more. Lorraine Heffernan who had been switched to left corner forward scored a brilliant goal which was wonderful to watch for its sheer simplicity. It started with Geraldine McTavish’s long clearance from defence which was fielded majestically by Martina Conneely at centre half forward. Her immediate long delivery in around the house was gathered superbly by Lorraine Heffernan who outfielded Karina Kelly before firing a low shot into the bottom corner of Evelyn Birmingham’s goal. This vital score was followed by a stylish point on the run from wing forward Nicola Walsh who was without doubt the outstanding forward on view during that opening half. A close range free from Geraldine Conneely left the half time score at 3-4 to 2-3 in favour of the visitors.
Gráinne Mhaols made the best possible start to the second half with three unanswered points inside the opening five minutes. Mairead Coyne scored the first after taking a pass from Siobhan Conneely and Nicola Walsh followed this up with two top class efforts from out on the right. Dunmore responded by switching county star Deirdre Fallon to midfield and over the next fifteen minutes the home side fought tenaciously to get back into contention. Points followed from Geraldine Conneely (2) Sandra Byrne and Mary Geoghann. During this third quarter Gráinne Mhaols goalkeeper Linda O’ Malley pulled off two outstanding saves to keep her side in front. With ten minutes remaining they led by 3-7 to 2-7 and inspired by their outstanding midfield pairing of Geraldine McTavish and Lisa Coohill the whole team galvanised themselves into one final supreme effort. Some of their forwards had spurred scoring opportunities during that third quarter but these misses were atoned for with two late goals which finally killed off Dunmore’s determined resistance. Martina Conneely got the first after a neat exchange of passes between Lorraine Heffernan and Mairéad Coyne. The fifth and final goal was the result of some excellent work by corner forward Máire Coyne who brilliantly dispossessed Dunmore corner back Emma Lyons before setting up Martina Conneely for a close range finish. Dunmore threw everything they had at their opponents in the final few minutes but had only a solitary Sinead Nestor point to show for their efforts.
Gráinne Mhaols ability to alternate between the long ball game and the short passing game throughout was probably the decisive factor in their coming out on top in the end. Dunmore’s tactic of constantly running at the Gráinne Mhaols defence eventually became their undoing. Half backs Danielle Lydon, Tara Flaherty and Leigh Birchmore closed down their opponents consistently throughout the second half and tracked all their attacking solo runs very effectively. Behind them Bríd McDonagh was inspirational at full back and she was ably assisted by corner backs Lucy Lydon and Michelle Joyce who tidied up a lot of breaking ball. Gráinne Mhaols’ more economical style of play meant that they had more in reserve than Dunmore in the final quarter and this was ultimately the deciding factor in their favour. They will be delighted to have passed their first test with flying colours despite the unavailability of six key players from last year. There are many more formidable challenges ahead but last year’s county Junior B champions have laid down a firm marker that they are up to the task and determined to make an impact at the higher level.
Written by Paul Gannon
Gráinne Mhaols 3-10 Leitir Móir 3-6 Gráinne Mhaols overcame the loss of captain Geraldine McTavish and key forward Nicola Walsh to maintain their unbeaten league run with a hard fought victory over Leitir Móir in Clifden. The foundation for victory was laid in midfield where county stars Tara Flaherty and Lisa Coohill were inspirational from start to finish. They were ably assisted by half backs Danielle Lydon, Bríd McDonagh and Leigh Birchmore as the West Connemara girls dominated possession around the middle throughout the first half. Their forwards created numerous chances but failed to capitalise and a 1-6 to 0-3 half time constituted a really poor return on the amount of scoring opportunities that came their way.
Early points by Lisa Coohill and Mairéad Coyne were cancelled out by two pointed frees from Leitir Móir’s county star, Philomena Flaherty. However the home side got a much needed boost on 15 minutes when full forward Siobhán Conneely goaled from close range after receiving a pass from Mairéad Coyne. Lisa Coohill added another excellent long range effort before Fionnuala Hannigan set up Lisa McDonagh for her first point of the match. Leitir Móir half forward Marie Breathnach responded with a point from play but Gráinne Mhaols finished the half strongly with late points from Fionnuala Hannigan and Mairéad Coyne easing them into a six point lead.
Apart from their excellent full back line of Delia Graffin, Aisling Barrett and Siobhán Walsh, Leitir Mór were outclassed for most of that first half. However Manager Cole Kelly got the response he required during the second half as his side rallied superbly to play some excellent football. Within seconds of the throw in, they were right back in it when Christina Conroy’s long delivery found the unmarked Bríd McDonagh who made no mistake from close range. Gráinne O’Malley added a point to cut the deficit to two. Gráinne Mhaols replied with a pointed free from Lisa Coohill and on 40 minutes the same player blasted a close range free to the roof of the net after Siobhán Conneely had been fouled on her way through.
However the South Connemara girls refused to lie down and with Philomena Flaherty leading by example in midfield they grew in confidence and self-belief. Midfielder Jamie Molloy added a point before an excellent forward move involving Marie Walsh and Mairéad Perkins resulted in Bríd McDonagh finding the net for the second time. Leitir Móir were now in the ascendancy but missed a glorious opportunity on 48 minutes, when after being awarded a penalty for a footblock, Christina Conroy failed to hit the target. Two minutes later, Gráinne Mhaols goalkeeper Debbie Ruddy saved superbly from an Ann Marie Monaghan pile driver but there was nothing she could do on 52 minutes when full forward Bríd McDonagh capped a superb individual second half performance with her third goal to give the visitors the lead for the first time in the match.
Gráinne Mhaols were in real trouble at this stage both in the full forward line which was struggling to make any kind of impact and also in the full back line which was being badly exposed by a lively Leitir Móir inside forward line. However, as in their previous encounter with Dunmore, they managed to find an extra gear late on. An inspirational point on the run from Lisa McDonagh levelled the scores with six minutes remaining and two minutes later Gráinne Mhaols had a stroke of good fortune when Lisa Coohill’s well struck long range free went all the way to the net over Eileen Hogan’s head. Marie Walsh hit back immediately with a point for the visitors but Gráinne Mhaols had the final say with insurance points from Mairéad Coyne and Lisa Coohill. The West Connemara girls probably just about deserved their victory on the basis of their first half supremacy yet in the final analysis they needed a bit of luck to see them through. They shot a total of twenty wides to Leitir Mór’s five, and if their forwards don’t improve dramatically in this area over the course of the remaining four league matches against North Galway opposition, then it is unlikely that Gráinne Mhaols will play any part in this year’s Junior A League Final.
Dunmore gained sweet revenge for their earlier league reversal in July when they defeated the league leaders by 3-17 to 4-5 in the quarter final of the Junior A Championship. They went on subsequently to annex both the County and Connacht titles. Gráinne Mhaols regrouped, refocused their efforts in league and qualified for the county decider courtesy of impressive victories over Glynsk (2-6 to 1-2), Mountbellew (3-12 to 1-3) and Cortoon Shamrocks (12-9 to 3-7). Not surprisingly, the opposition in that final was provided by the newly crowned Connacht Champions.
The best ladies football in Galway has arguably been played in the Junior and underage grades all year and last weekend was no different. The Junior A and Junior B finals were played on Sunday. Gráinne Mhaols took on Dunmore in Killannin in Junior A and, as has been the case every time these two teams meet, it was an epic battle. Gráinne Mhaols held the lead for most of the game but Dunmore inspired by the leadership of Marie Brehony and Geraldine Conneely came into their own in the last quarter to win by 2-5 to 1-5, thus adding the League title to their earlier championship win.
Written by Mary Hernon
Gráinne Mhaols entered the Connacht Open Senior Knockout Championship (organised by the Connacht Council) for the first time ever in 2003. They were given a lesson in the finer points of the beautiful game by Corofin Seniors who romped home in Tullycross on a scoreline of 5-12 to 2-3. The West Galway Senior and Junior Championship Finals were hosted by Na Piarsaigh club in 2003. Gráinne Mhaols Junior Bs lost out to the host club in their semi final but the Junior As played superbly in their 5-16 to 3-6 semi final victory over Clonbur Seniors . Killannin defeated Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir in the other semi final.
Killannin 4-3 Gráinne Mhaols 1-8 Killannin dominated the first quarter and took their early scores with great precision. Gráinne Mhaols took a while to settle but gradually came into the game. They were spurred on by a Mairéad Coyne goal on 20 minutes but this was cancelled out by Sinéad Audley as half time approached. Killannin looked well in control at the interval as they led by seven points on a scoreline of 3-3 to 1-2. However the second half of the game saw a shift with Lisa Coohill of Gráinne Mhaols dominating down the middle. At this point, Killannin had to fight to regain control which they did by moving Niamh Fahy onto Lisa Coohill. Niamh had a great game and did well to effectively curtail all Lisa’s attempts at breaking through Killannin’s defence.
The only score taken by Killannin in the second half was a goal from a penalty taken by Jodie Kavanagh. The Killannin backs, although under attack for most of the second half stood strong, defended well and conceded very little. Gráinne Mhaols were offered a chance to salvage the game with a penalty but unfortunately for them, Lisa put it over the bar for a point. For Killannin, however, this gave them some respite and they went on the win the match by four points. Both teams are to be commended for their perseverance and relentless pursuit of success. It was a hard fought game with neither side conceding anything and battling until the bitter end. Killannin’s greater all round experience gave them a vital edge all through, but Gráinne Mhaols have made great strides in the last two years and have closed the gap considerably during that time. I’m sure there will be many more exciting encounters to follow over the next few years.
Written by Ann Marie Thomas
A number of Gráinne Mhaols players played for the Connemara Gaels amalgamation in the County Senior League in 2003. They defeated Clonbur, but a 1-15 to 2-12 draw against Corofin was their most noteworthy result. St Brendan’s and Kilkerrin-Clonberne qualified for the final. Gráinne Mhaols also entered an adult team into the County Junior B competitions in 2003. They won their opening league match comfortably against Éire Óg but lost all their subsequent matches against Na Piarsaigh, Bearna, Salthill and Spiddal. Despite having home advantage against Glenamaddy in the Championship, Gráinne Mhaols were too depleted to field and had to concede the match. The club was never to enter a second team subsequently into county adult competitions.
As Uachtarán Cumann Peil Gael na mBan, it gives me great pleasure to welcome all the young teams from around the country to Galway. Also, I extend a massive thank you to our host clubs of Galway and Mayo. Féile is a special weekend, when we get to see the stars of the future perform on the national stage. Furthermore, Féile captures the spirit of our Gaelic Games, the Club and family ethos that have become indicative of our national sport over the decades. Anyone that has experienced Féile in the past will appreciate the wonderful atmosphere that this weekend attracts. A youth policy is vital to the survival of our sport at a time when there are so many other attractions for the young people of today. That is why it is a credit to Cumann Lúthcleas Gael and all of the organising committees for their diligent work in maintaining this competition over the years. I would like to extend my thanks to Coiste Náisiúnta, Coiste Peile na nÓg na Gaillimhe, the Ladies Committee of Cumann Peil na mBan in Galway and our Chief Executive for their enthusiasm and hard work over the past year, in order to ensure that the weekend is a memorable one for all the teams, mentors and visitors to Galway. Special thanks also to all the schools that recently took time out to welcome me on my tour of the county in preparation for this weekend. To all the participants I wish you all the best throughout the competition and urge you to enjoy the festivities. Be proud of your club and the counties you represent and you will no doubt forge bonds over the weekend that will last with you throughout the years ahead. As you watch games this weekend, ponder this; you could be watching the next Cora Staunton or Gillian Joyce. For from fantastic Féile feats can be born an All Ireland medallist and All Star.
Written by Geraldine Giles.
Cumann Peil Gael na mBan
2003 was a landmark year for Ladies Football in Galway when the county was selected to host the Féile National U14 competition. Gráinne Mhaols, who were graded at Division One level, played host to Carnacon from Mayo who defeated them by 5-2 to 3-2 in Tullycross.
Both Grainne Mhaols and Carnacon subsequently travelled into Galway city subsequently for their remaining matches. The West Connemara girls overcame Salthill by 1-4 to 0-1 but had to give second best to pre tournament favourites Beara on a scoreline of 4-5 to 1-2. The West Cork girls went on to win the All Ireland
Gráinne Mhaols Under 14s finished joint second in the A league with Dunmore and lost the subsequent play off by 3-6 to 2-5. They rallied superbly in the championship however, by beating the newly crowned league champions in an epic quarter final at Clifden on a scoreline of 5-8 to 2-13 after extra time, but Murphy’s Law subsequently prevailed in the semi final against Corofin. Gráinne Mhaols had enjoyed two facile victories over their north Galway rivals in the league but championship is a much different affair and Corofin were hell bent on reversing their quarter final defeat in Tullycross the previous year. They did so with a vengeance, exacting a humiliating 10-10 to 4-2 defeat on their opponents.
Gráinne Mhaols entered a team into the U16A Championship for the very first time in 2003 and ran Dunmore very close in the semi final before succumbing by 2-8 to 1-7.
At inter county level, Kim Young excelled for Galway Under 12s in the 1-6 to 1-5 Connacht final victory over Mayo in Tuam Stadium.
Danielle Lydon, Tara Flaherty and Fionnuala Hannigan all made the first fifteen of the Galway Under 14 team. Galway lost the Connacht final to Mayo by 3-9 to 1-11.
Lisa Coohill made the Galway Senior team. They lost the Connacht final to Mayo but responded in the best possible fashion thereafter with a brilliant victory over Tyrone. Lisa received the Player of the Match award in that All Ireland quarter final but Galway lost out again to Mayo at the penultimate stage.
A hugely successful year for ladies’ football in Galway was rounded off in the City West Hotel, Dublin, on Saturday night last as Emer Flaherty (Cortoon Shamrocks) and Lisa Coohill (Gráinne Mhaols) were selected on this year’s All-star team. A sizeable contingent travelled to the Dublin venue to support the seven Galway girls who were nominated in various positions. President Mary McAleese was the guest of honour and over six hundred patrons attended this gala function, jointly sponsored by O’Neills and TG4.
Although Bernadette Stankard was an all-star selection in the inaugural year of the awards in 1980, Galway hasn’t been represented on the team since Mary Mullery was picked in the left-corner back position in 1983. It is indicative of the tremendous progress made by the senior team in the last ten months that Galway players are once again considered as good as those in the rest of the country. Three Galway players were nominated for defensive positions as Ruth Stephens (Corofin) was just pipped for the full-back position by the Mayo captain, Helena Lohan. Aoibheann Daly (Milltown) was a model of consistency throughout the championship campaign and narrowly lost out to Waterford’s Annalisa Crotty, who won her seventh all-star.
There were scenes of jubilation among the Galway contingent as the chief executive of Cumann Peil Gael na mBan, Helen O’Rourke, announced Emer Flaherty’s selection in the left-half back position. Emer has had an outstanding year, leading Presentation Convent, Tuam, to the All Ireland Colleges’ “A” title in April. She captained that team from centre-back and played superb football throughout the campaign. Emer was Galway’s star when they lost to Mayo in a titanic All-Ireland semi-final. Patricia Gleeson was nominated at midfield, and must be considered unlucky not to have picked up an award in her first year on the senior team. Bernard Flynn (Meath) was on hand to announce the forward positions and his first duty was to call Lisa Coohill to the podium to collect her award. Lisa put in some excellent displays as colleagues and opponents alike were amazed by her phenomenal work rate. The rousing reception she received clearly showed what a popular winner she was. A noted cross-country runner and soccer player, she concentrated fully on gaelic football in 2003.
At administrative level, Paul Gannon was elected to the positions of Public Relations Officer and Development Officer, on the Galway County Committee Executive in 2003 and submitted the following report re the latter to the County Convention at the end of the season.
“The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘Development’ as follows: ‘To make progress, become fuller or bigger, more elaborate or systematic, to arrive at maturity’. As a member of this year’s County Executive Committee, I endeavoured to make progress. I want our Association to become fuller and bigger, more elaborate and systematic and ultimately to arrive at or reach, a state of maturity. Indeed it’s a great honour and privilege to hold an officership on a County Executive and thereby be empowered by the Association to make a difference. So what progress if any has been made since this time last year? I believe that a certain amount of progress has been made in the developmental area and the purpose of this report is to elaborate on these developments.
Regionalising the County Junior B League was a new departure, and while there were problems in the North due to the unexpected withdrawal of a number of clubs, the West was a big success. Every club got to play each other, home and away and while there was the odd bit of contention here and there, I’d have to say that overall the matches were played in the right spirit and ethos. A measure of the competitive nature of this League can be gauged from the fact that Na Piarsaigh who reached the County Junior B Championship final failed in their bid to reach the West Junior B League final. There’s tremendous work being done out west by a large number of people and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge them all publicly, Mick Burke (Éire Óg), Gay O’Brien (Bearna), Tom Nestor (Salthill), Martina Cummins (St Michaels), Bridie Kinneavey and Prionsias Ó Máille (Na Piarsagh), Charmaine Flaherty (Gráinne Mhaols), and Sean Howe (Spiddal). We are blessed also with having referees of the calibre of Stephen Thomas Kane, Walter Butler, Eddie Walsh, John Connnolly and Brendan Kinneavy. I’d also like to extend a special word of gratitude to Declan Dooley of the Galway Independent who sponsored the cup.
The West Galway Senior and Junior Championship finals were a huge success and a great weekend’s football was enjoyed by all last June. Rosmuc is a top class venue and the Na Piarsaigh Executive Committee’s organisation of these championship finals was of the highest order. Their attention to detail in the latter regard serves as a great example to all other clubs and the weekend finished on a perfect note locally for the hosts when they defeated Bearna in an enthralling Junior final. Killannin defeated Gráinne Mhaols in the Senior Final and we were delighted that our long serving Chairperson, Barry Fahy travelled out to present the respective cups.
The inclusion of two amalgamated teams, Connnemara Gaels and Northern Stars in the County Senior League certainly added a bit of intrigue and excitement to that particular competition. This development gave the junior players an opportunity to improve their own personal performance levels as well as potentially putting them in the shop window for possible selection to either the Galway Senior or Junior County panels. The establishment of amalgamations also facilitates or allows for the development of positive and harmonious relations between the particular junior clubs involved and this can only benefit the overall ethos of our Association here in Galway. I’d like to extend a special word of thanks to both management teams, Walter Butler, Cole Kelly and Mary Walsh out west and Tom Flaherty and Benny Fahy up north.
2003 saw the introduction of C grade (Division 3) at underage level to accommodate the increasing number of newly affiliated clubs. I believe it has been a huge success particularly in the manner in which it has made it easier for clubs to find their appropriate level. A lot more teams enjoyed the thrill of reaching a county final in 2003 than in 2002, resulting in a much wider and better distribution of success around the county. Examples of the above included: Tuam Stars v Kilkerrin-Clonberne (U12); St.Gabriels v St.Marys (U16); St.Gabriels v St.Furseys (U14); Leitir Móir v ClareGalway (U14).
Galway was honoured with the hosting of Féile in the year gone by and I’m sure you’d all agree that it was an unqualified success not least in the manner in which it assisted in promoting and raising the profile of ladies football in our native county. I am very grateful to our President Geraldine Giles who along with Con Moynihan, Mary Hernon and Catríona Kyne travelled the length and breadth of the county spreading our footballing gospel. It is nothing short of inspirational for aspiring young footballers to meet with and listen to such experienced and knowledgeable people.
This year for the first time ever, our County Board voted for selection over election re the appointment of our County Managers. I think that in this instance, our club delegates did right by their Association. I was greatly honoured to be part of the Interview Panel along with Ita Seoighe and Philip McDonnell and I would like to thank them all for all their hard work and sound advice throughout that very challenging process. On a personal level, I found the whole experience to be a huge learning curve and I was extremely impressed with all of the candidates’ knowledge, understanding, passion and love for ladies football. I wish to thank all the delegates who voted in the process by such a large majority and who subsequently ratified the list of managerial candidates that we put before them.
We did have problems during the year and there are a number of areas to be developed in 2004. The first round of the Senior Championship should have preceded all our other championships in the interests of fair play to junior clubs but because of a reprieve for Kilkerrin-Clonberne and Clonbur this didn’t happen. The knock on effect of this for St.Brendans and Corofin was very negative especially for the non-county players in these clubs. Corofin were able to use all their regraded players in the Junior A Championship and these players played key roles in helping them reach that county final at the expense of Cortoon Shamrocks and Mountbellew. However, prior to this final,
Corofin seniors were out in championship resulting in a much depleted Corofin taking the field against Dunmore in the County Junior A Championship final. They were beaten by over twenty points and subsequently pulled out of the Junior A League. This type of scenario should never again be allowed to happen. Mountbellew or Cortoon Shamrocks would have given Dunmore a really competitive match and if I were a member of either of those clubs I would feel a great sense of injustice re the County Executive’s handling of the matter.
A number of clubs had to wait inordinate lengths of time between League matches in various grades. Glynsk in Junior A, Glenamaddy in Junior B and Killannin in the Intermediate were probably the worst affected. My solution would be the introduction of a Master Fixtures Plan next year. In fact, I consider this to be the biggest single challenge facing the incoming Executive for 2004. If re-elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the ordinary club players who probably account for 95% of our playing population will get a fair deal in relation to fixtures. Club is always much more important than county and I will also do my utmost (if re-elected) to ensure that county players avail of their right to play regularly for their clubs.
There were some problems last year between the Executive and a few of the County Managers. Hopefully this won’t be the case in 2004. Everyone’s a year older and hopefully a year wiser. I was very happy last year to be on the Liaison Sub-Committee along with Philip and Ita. I feel that the establishment of the above constituted a very positive development in an era when managers are coming under more and more pressure to meet the aspirations of players and supporters alike.
In conclusion. I would like to highlight a number of key areas where developmental work needs to take place. South Galway and South-East Connemara are devoid of Ladies Football Clubs at the present time. Clubs need to be established in places like Portumna, Athenry, Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Inverin, Carraroe and Moycullen. There is huge potential in the above places which the incoming Executive needs to tap. We need a lot more referees. The way forward is to organise referees’ courses over a weekend with a follow up monitoring process. We should endeavour to work closely with the Referees Society at national level to help us realise our aims and goals in this regard. Coaching and Skills Development require the urgent attention of the incoming Executive. Getting top coaches to travel out to clubs in order to train in additional club coaches would be a great step forward. Specialist coaching for goalkeepers would have to be an integral part of this process. I reserve my final word for the perennial problem of fundraising. All new and innovative ideas are most welcome at this time. Thank you for all your help and support throughout the year.’’
Continuity At The Top Table The Order Of The Day As Ladies Football Convention Reflect On A Remarkable Year In 2003
An impressive array of silverware at the top table told its own story at a packed Ladies Football County Convention in Terry Brennan’s, Loughgeorge on Sunday last. In his opening address to delegates Chairperson Benny Fahy congratulated the Galway Senior team on reaching the semi-final of both Division One in the National League and the All Ireland Championship in their very first year at top level. He also congratulated the Galway Juniors on winning the Division 3 National League title and added that pride of place this year went to the Under 16s who annexed an historic first ever All-Ireland title. He also paid tribute to Corofin on winning both the County Senior Championship and All-Ireland Senior Sevens titles. He extended similar sentiments to St Brendans who won the Intermediate Championship and he also acknowledged Dunmore’s historic county and provincial success at Junior A level. The Chairperson then congratulated Milltown on making the breakthrough at junior level.
Benny thanked his fellow officers for all their dedicated work in what had been a difficult year at administrative level. He extended a special word of appreciation to County Secretary, Mary Hernon for her outstanding administrative and organisational contribution throughout the year particularly in relation to Feíle. He thanked all the sponsors for their continued support, JFC (Senior) N 17 Electrical (Junior and Minor), MG Steel (Under 16) Hernon Keane Construction (Under 12 and Under14) Western Hygiene Supplies (Club Leagues and Championships) and Acorn Life (Rose Night). In conclusion he called on all clubs to work positively and constructively with the incoming Executive Committee to build a bigger and better Ladies Football Association in Galway in 2004.
Secretary Mary Hernon, reiterated Benny’s sentiments in her address and thanked all the clubs for making Féile such a huge success. She paid special tribute to outgoing Treasurer, Margaret Leahy who contributed enormously to the Association for over five years and she wished her well in the future. A detailed Financial Report followed. Fixtures Secretary, Caitriona Kyne informed the meeting that over nine hundred club matches had been played this year with a number of competitions including Senior League still to be concluded. PRO Paul Gannon presented each club with a copy of “Retrospective 2003”, a comprehensive review of all the year’s activities. He thanked the media for all their help throughout the year in promoting Ladies Football, particularly John McIntyre (Connacht Tribune), Jim Carney (Tuam Herald) and Ollie Turner (Galway Bay FM). He added however that the Association needs professional journalists from various provincial newspapers to attend and report on its matches both at club and inter-county level. “We are seeking parity of esteem with hurling and men’s football” he added.
The Election of Officers followed:
In relation to motions and recommendations, a large number of same were referred to the incoming fixtures committee. The following motions were carried:
1. The selective process of appointing managers is entered into at the start of year one. The Executive Committee is empowered to reinstate or remove a manager at the end of the year, subject to ratification and likewise at the end of year two but the selective process has to be entered into at the end of year three (Submitted by Management).
2. That clubs hold their AGMs before January 31st each year and send affiliation forms and fees to the Secretary of the County Board before 15th February ’03 in order to facilitate the fixtures committee (Submitted by Management).
3. To facilitate the smooth running of the Senior and Junior County teams, the Senior Management draws up a panel prior to the start of the League. Any additions to that panel throughout the year have to be done in consultation with the Executive of the County Board (Submitted by Management).
4. That all Championship matches i.e. under 12, 14, 16, Minor, Junior, Intermediate and Senior proceed on a home or away basis up to semi-final stage (Submitted by Gráinne Mhaols). 5. That the incoming Fixtures Committee creates a Master Fixture Plan for 2004 and a list of rules therein to ensure that it is properly respected and implemented (Submitted by Gráinne Mhaols).
A standing ovation was given to Galway’s two All-Stars, namely, Lisa Coohill (Gráinne Mhaols) and Emer Flaherty (Cortoon Shamrocks) who attended the meeting as delegates for their respective clubs.
Written by Paul Gannon
Grainne Mhaols LGFA held its 2003 AGM in the Station House Hotel, Clifden on January 17th 2004 and we were joined on this occasion by Mary Hernon, Galway County Ladies Board Secretary who was our invited guest along with her husband Jimmy. In her opening address, Mary Young welcomed the aforementioned to the meeting and proceeded to describe 2003 as being a year of consolidation. Acknowledging the extreme disappointment felt at just losing out to the Connacht Intermediate champions in the County Junior A League decider, Mary surmised that defeat in the short term might yet turn out to be a blessing in disguise in the long term. The key ingredients necessary for success in her opinion were enthusiasm, fun, spirit and drive. She also highlighted coaching as a huge priority going forward.
In his secretarial address, Paul Gannon extended a special word of gratitude to the following people for their assistance in the procurement of pitches; Tony Coyne (Naomh Feichin GAA), Padraig Cloherty (Carna-Caiseal) and Geraldine McTavish. He also thanked Stephen Thomas Kane for his invaluable refereeing contribution. He complimented Maggie Keating, Geraldine McTavish and all their recruits for the excellent fundraising carried out in Supervalu, Clifden and also in the Carna area. He concluded his contribution by reflecting on some of the highs and lows of an eventful season on the playing fields and urged all the players never to lose sight of why they play this sport, namely, for the great sense of enjoyment and privilege that it bestows on the participants. There were no matters arising from Lyn Heanue’s detailed financial report which followed.
The following people were subsequently elected to the incoming Executive;
Delegates to County Board were Lisa Coohill and John Francis Flaherty and the following management structure was then put in place;
The meeting concluded with a short address by invited guest, Mary Hernon. The County Secretary thanked Grainne Mhaols LGFA for its very meaningful contribution to the affairs of the County Board not least in the amount of players it has supplied to various Galway teams. She also complimented the club on the excellent progress it has made in terms of its underage and adult playing standards in such a short space of time.