Record Entry Expected For Inaugural West Galway Darts Open

The cream of the Connemara crop in addition to several county players from the environs of Galway city will be converging on Clifden’s Atlantic Coast Hotel for the inaugural West Galway Open Singles Championship and Shield Competitions on Sunday April 13th next commencing at 3pm sharp. This tournament which is being organised by the Gráinne Mhaols Darts Administrative Committee commands an entry fee of €10. First Round losers in the Championship will automatically qualify for the Shield Competition. This will also be the case on Sunday April 20th when the inaugural West Galway Open Doubles Championship and Shield Competitions will be run off at the same venue. The Administrative Committee is also hoping to run off the Peter Lydon Memorial Cup in April (precise details to follow later).

Meanwhile the Connemara Inter-Pub Championship and Shield Competitions reached their dramatic conclusions last month. Keoghs, Ballyconneely captured the Shield defeating Veldons, Letterfrack 28-15 in a replay. These two teams had earlier drawn 27-27 in the initial match. Teach Daingin, Leitir Móir annexed the Championship title when they edged out Molly’s, Letterfrack 28-26 after a titanic battle. Special individual awards went to Eamonn Mannion, Tommy Flaherty and Larry Keady. CPB Ghráinne Mhaoil would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participating teams for their co-operation, flexibility and above all great sportsmanship throughout the duration of the above competitions. Hopefully we will have many new entries from all corners of Connemara in 2009.

A dramatic new development on the inter-county scene has been the recent announcement that Connemara has been given permission by the Irish National Darts Organisation to participate as a county team in its own right in the West Coast Classic and the South Coast Classic. These competitions will take place towards the end of 2008 and the Connemara team will be managed by Renvyle’s Willie Gannon. Trials will be held at different venues throughout Connemara in the run up to these tournaments which could very well put a number of Connemara players in the shop window for selection to the Galway county team which will be participating in next year’s All Ireland Championships.


Written by Paul Gannon
Connemara View
April 2008

Coiste Forbartha Peil na mBan Iarthar na Gaillimhe
Motion For Connacht Council AGM

That the Connacht Council organise a Connacht Inter-County Junior Championship in 2008 for the following teams: Galway (2nd team) Sligo (2nd team), Leitrim (2nd team) Roscommon (1st team), Mayo (2nd team) and Connemara (1st team). The Connemara team would consist of players from the following clubs, St Michaels, Salthill-Knocknacarra, Bearna, Spiddal, Michael Breathnachs, An Cheathrú Rua, Oileáin Árainn, Leitir Móir, Na Piarsaigh, Gráinne Mhaols, Clonbur, Killannin and Moycullen.
The following Connemara players would not be eligible to play in this competition, Lisa Coohill (Gráinne Mhaols), Claire Molloy (St. Michaels), Ann Marie MacDonagh (Salthill-Knocknacarra), Lorna Joyce (Clonbur) and Niamh Fahy (Killannin).

Is Mise le Meas
Paul Gannon, Secretary
West Galway Ladies Football
Development Association


Gannon Seeks Respect For Connemara Ladies Football

The emergence of Connemara as an inter-county set-up this year is causing quite a stir among the ladies football fraternity, with not all viewing the formation of the regional outfit as a positive influence on the local football scene. No doubt, the successful move to enter a Connemara junior team in the Connacht ladies football championship has created a lot of debate, but the man spearheading the initiative, Renvyle’s Paul Gannon, is steadfast in his commitment to see the venture through. It is this sort of dogged determination that has brought the thirteen Connemara clubs together; that has saw the Gaeilgeoirs defeat Leitrim; that has earned them a 0-8 to 0-3 victory over Galway North East; and that has secured them a place in the provincial junior decider in July.
However, the success of the West Galway outfit has not been greeted with due recognition by some quarters, according to Gannon, who says some traditionalists within the county have accused the Connemara man and his cohorts as being “divisive”. He argues this is far from the case. Having served on the County Board for three years as Development Officer, Irish Language Officer, Fixtures’ Secretary and PRO, Gannon would make the, often, two-hour trip to Board meetings. “I would leave Renvyle at six in the evening and I would have a two-hour drive in front of me,” outlines Gannon.“The meeting could go on for three hours, we might have another hour after the meeting, and it would be like two o’clock in the morning when I got home. It was tough on my wife, Collette. She, though, has just been unbelievably supportive.”
With every meeting becoming a gruelling ordeal, it made Gannon appreciate the lengths Connemara girl and Galway senior footballer Lisa Coohill and others had to go to just attend county training on a regular basis. It also brought home that the time and distance may also be deterrents for potential footballers who wished to play for Galway at various levels. “I just came to the realisation, in the same way it was untenable for me to continue to be part of the County Executive, that same ‘untenability’ is there for players from parts of Connemara who want to be part of a Galway set-up,” says the primary schoolteacher. Bearing this in mind, Gannon began to ponder on how best to serve the interests of Connemara ladies football. Already, the wheels had been set in motion when, in 2003, Galway County Board sanctioned the establishment of the West Galway Ladies Football Development Association. With only five Connemara clubs affiliated to the Board in 2002, the Association was to become a vital cog in catering for the massive explosion of the sport in the region in the ensuing years. Today, thirteen clubs are under the umbrella of the Association, which also incorporates Galway City.
However, while Gannon was instrumental in promoting the game in the region, he attributes much of its growth to Moycullen man Richie Bohan, who was to the fore in initiating a West Galway Féile competition in 2006. “That was the catalyst for going all out on an underage developmental drive,” adds Association Secretary Gannon. He says all this fuelled the mushrooming of the game across Connemara, Gannon continuing: “It, then, became necessary to grade senior and junior. So what has happened in Connemara over the last number of years is equivalent to what has happened in, say, Offaly, Kilkenny and other junior counties.’’ Gannon believes that to bring their association to full maturity, they had to have a representative team, something along the lines of South Down and Fingal in hurling or, in soccer, Inishowen of Donegal in the Oscar Traynor Cup.
Lobbying Connacht Council, they were granted entry into the internal Connacht junior championship. However, as they do not have county status, they are not eligible to compete in the All-Ireland national championship or in the National League. This is something Gannon would love to see rectified. “Connemara is not a county, and it was deemed contrary to rule,” says the Renvyle man. “So is the GAA forever going to be tied down by county boundaries? I would ask that we play in the National League Division 3, and in the National Junior Championship. I would ask that we be afforded the same status as London or New York. Given that we have thirteen clubs, that puts us on a par with Offaly, Wicklow, Carlow, Derry and Louth.
“My contention is that Galway senior team should be able to pick from all forty clubs. However, if you had a Connemara junior team playing in Division 3 of the National League and in the All-Ireland Junior championship, and you had a Galway Junior team, picked from the other twenty seven clubs and playing in the Aisling McGing, then haven’t you representative football being played right across the whole county? By the same token, you should also then have a better senior team. To me, the whole thing is so logical, but I have been accused, by some people within the County Board and North East Galway, of being divisive,” says Gannon. “I am driven, though, by incredible pride and passion for Connemara. I am also driven by the pure pragmatism of the thing. Logistics is a big thing.” Certainly, Gannon’s heart is in developing the game in the region, which could explain why he has become so annoyed by those who have opposed the move. He adds: “Some people are just very slow to embrace a change. “There has been an old established order within Galway, and as a result, Connemara has often been treated with a kind of patronising attitude by the North East. I think they are happy to pick up the odd Lisa Coohill, the odd Niamh Fahey, but at the end of the day we are seen as a ‘football backwater’. All we want in Connemara is respect. Respect for the ability of the players we have.”
Without a doubt, Connemara, under the tuition of Gannon and St Michaels Martina Cummins, are earning it on the field of play at the moment, after claiming Connacht junior championship victories over Leitrim and Galway North East in their opening two round-robin fixtures. Those wins have catapulted Connemara, captained by Leitir Móir’s Philomena Ní Fhlatharta, into the Connacht decider on July 12th, with one group game against finalists Roscommon still to play.“We are not trying to undermine the County Board. There was never anything about this until we tried to take it one more step and set up a representative side. That has put the cat among the pigeons completely. That is challenging the old established order and it is setting a new precedent that has never happened in men’s football in Galway. I have always believed that Connemara should have had a men’s team competing within the inter county structure,
“We have players, who we feel, would walk onto the any of the county junior teams in Ireland. So I was driven by a desire to give a higher level of football than club to these players. When you throw in the ‘untenability’ of travelling 70 or 80 miles and back again to training for Galway, then, the obvious solution would be to set something up in Connemara.“I mean, for example, you ask the French, they would be more familiar with the word ‘Connemara’ than they would be with ‘Galway’. Connemara is a very distinct piece of territory and it is a very unique region, not only in topography, but also in language and culture. I am proud to be a Galway man, but I am a lot prouder to be a Connemara man. This is not radical or revolutionary. It’s just the nature of the beast and I can’t change that.”

Written by Stephen Glennon
Connacht Tribune
May 14th 2008


Connemara Ladies All Set For Connacht Final Showdown

Connemara ladies footballers will endeavour to etch their names in the history books, when they face Roscommon in a novel Ladbrokes Connacht junior Championship final at Tuam Stadium this Saturday at 6pm).Founded this year, Connemara have certainly put a strong case forward to be recognised as an inter-county footballing force, after defeating Leitrim (3-20 to 0-5) and Galway North (0-8 to 0-3) to qualify for this weekend’s decider. While they lost to Roscommon in the round-robin section of the competition on a scoreline of 3-14 to 0-7, joint manager Paul Gannon believes his side have improved significantly since then. Indeed, he believes the Connemara outfit that will tog out in the final will be their strongest starting line-up so far this year.

In the build-up to this final, Connemara have certainly been industrious. In recent challenge matches, they defeated Longford (3-13 to 1-12) and Offaly (4-16 to 2-8), while they also had a very useful workout against Limerick intermediates, losing by 4-10 to 2-11.They do have injury concerns, however. Spiddal’s Michelle Thornton has a groin strain, while Clonbur’s Sinead Egan and St Michael’s Roisin Bonner have sustained ankle and hand injuries respectively. Captain Philomena Ní Fhlatharta is also recovering from a thigh injury. While Gannon is hopeful all will recover in time for the contest, he believes everyone will have to play to their potential to defeat a Roscommon outfit that had an impressive victory over Munster champions Clare in the All-Ireland intermediate championship last weekend.

“If we play to our full potential though, I think the result will look after itself,” says Gannon. “I also think with the defeats Galway ladies football has suffered recently, particularly the minors in the Connacht final and All-Ireland quarter-final, and the seniors not even reaching the Connacht final, a win for Connemara would be a great boost to ladies football in the county.” While Gannon concedes Roscommon would be the more experienced side, he argues that Connemara are not without their stalwarts. Ní Fhlatharta won an All-Ireland senior title with Galway in 2004, while the likes of the evergreen Maura Cloherty, Kim Young, Sinead Egan, Bronagh Kelly, Mairead Coyne and Geraldine McTavish have all represented Galway at one grade or another.

That said, Connemara will be up against it on Saturday, particularly given all of the Roscommon intermediate panel are eligible to play in this final. It will be interesting to see just how many of these the Roscommon management use against their Gaeltacht opponents.Certainly, in the likes of goalkeeper Sarah Finnerty, defenders Annette McGeeney and Louise Tully, midfielders Martha Conlon and Sinead Cooney, and forwards Ann Marie Carley, Caroline Conway, Michelle Carey, Eimear Casey, Claire Grehan and Sarah Sharkey, they have plenty of quality at this grade. As a result, Roscommon will start as firm favourites to take the plaudits in this one.


Written by Stephen Glennon
Connacht Tribune
July 11th 2008

Heartbreak For Connemara As Fortuitous Injury Time Goal Scuttles Title Bid

Roscommon 2-18 Connemara 3-12 A fortuitous goal from Roscommon substitute Emer Casey three minutes into injury-time shattered the title dreams of plucky Connemara in a thoroughly enjoyable Connacht junior ladies football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday evening. Making their first Connacht final appearance in their debut year as an inter-county outfit, Connemara looked like they might stage a major upset for long periods of this contest. However, with the sides tied level after a thrilling sixty minutes plus of football, Connemara were to suffer a devastating, heart wrenching blow just before the final whistle was blown. In one last gasp effort to steal a victory, Roscommon captain Sarah Sharkey drew the foul from the opposition defence approximately forty yards from the Connemara goal. Up stepped sharpshooter Casey for the long range free and given her track record; she had already kicked three such efforts upon her introduction; who would have backed against her kicking the point? Instead of lofting her effort high, though, Casey drilled the ball, obviously in the hope it would have the distance. Well, it had more than that, as her effort dipped unmercifully, catching the Connemara rearguard unaware, and creeping in under Maire Ní Chlochartaigh’s crossbar. It truly was a heartbreaking moment for the Gaeltacht outfit.

Still, Connemara owed this rip-roaring contest nothing. Given but an outside chance of claiming the honours, Paul Gannon’s side had come out all guns blazing and by the 17th minute they led Roscommon 2-7 to 0-5. The excellent Mairead Ní Chadhain and Kim Young had traded points with Roscommon’s Lorraine O’Connor, Ann Marie Carley, Sinead Kenny and Sharkey in the opening minutes, before Maire Ní Thuathail struck for the game’s first goal on 12 minutes. A quick free from Maire Caitlin Ní Chathasaigh found Ní Chadhain and turning on the proverbial coin, she handpassed inside to Ní Thuathail who make no mistake with her effort to put her side 1-3 to 0-5 in front. Less than two minutes later, they struck again, this time the impressive Sinead Ní Aodhagain combining with dangerwoman Ní Chadhain and she set up Ní Thuathail for her and Connemara’s second goal. With the favourites rocked to their very core, Connemara drove on with Ní Aodhagain kicking three magnificent points from play in a whirlwind two-minute spell. It was at this point that Connemara led 2-7 to 0-5.

It was also at this point that Roscommon called on their big guns. The victors had fielded a largely junior outfit, with the exception of four intermediate players, in keeping with the spirit of the competition.However, with it now looking like they would be run off the field, the management took the decision to strengthen their side with a number of their first choice players. As a result, the hard-working Laura Sharkey, Feena Beirne and the prolific duo of Martina Freyne and Emer Casey, both of whom amassed 1-7 between them, were introduced. With the addition of Sharkey and Beirne on 18 minutes to the fray, the effects were immediate and in the space of seconds, Roscommon had netted through St Brigid’s Cliodhna McHugh. Subsequent points, then, from Tara Taylor and Ruth Kelly reduced the deficit to a single goal. To their credit, Connemara rallied again, with Roisin Ní Chamhsi, Ní Thuathail, and Ní Chadhain all finding the target with some excellent shooting in the closing minutes of the half. Roscommon’s only reply was from McHugh, who kicked a well-engineered point in injury-time to leave the half-time scoreline at Roscommon 1-8, Connemara, 2-10.

Although Connemara kicked the opening point of the second period, a good score from Ní Aodhagain, after a very patient build-up involving Young, Vanessa Summer and Ní Thuathail, they would not score again for another sixteen minutes. In the interim, Roscommon, buoyed by the introduction of Emer Casey at the interval, registered seven unanswered points through substitutes Martina Freyne (2), Casey (3) and Laura Sharkey, along with an effort from centre-half forward Ann Marie Carley, to take a 1-15 to 2-11 lead by the 45th minute. However, Connemara were not done yet and when a Ní Aodhagain effort fell short, former Galway senior star Philomena Ní Fhlatharta was on hand to scramble the ball over the line on 47 minutes. It set up a dramatic finale. Connemara, now visibly out on their feet, tried desperately to defend their two-point advantage, but with Freyne, Casey and Carley in top form, Roscommon had regained the lead by the final minute.

Again, credit to Connemara, they did respond to level matters when Ní Aodhagain kicked her fifth point of the afternoon two minutes into injury-time. It looked as if this contest was going to a replay.
Roscommon, though, were not content with that, and when captain Sarah Sharkey won that vital free deep into time added on, Casey stepped up to net that fortuitous free. From that, there was no way back for Connemara. In truth, if Connemara had held on for a replay, they would not have won it. They just ran out of steam, and perhaps a little conviction, to see it through. However, if this game had gone to another outing, Roscommon would surely have called on their intermediate big guns for the replay, the likes of goalkeeper Sarah Finnerty, Annette McGeeney, Louise Tully, Sinead Cooney and Donna Kelly. It would have been an impossible task for the Gaeltacht outfit.

As disappointing as the defeat was, though, Connemara have made a definite statement of intent with last weekend’s gutsy display. They showed they can compete with other county sides and in players like full-back Aisling Ní Aodhagain, Bronagh Ní Cheallaigh, Kim Young and the full-forward line of Sinead Ní Aodhagain, Mairead Ní Chadhain and Maire Ní Thuathail (the trio kicked 2-9 between them) they have players of immense ability. Simply, their argument to be included in the lower echelons of the National Ladies Football League and the All Ireland Junior Championship can only be strengthened by such a performance. Connemara: M Ní Chlochartaigh; L Ní Alluran, A Ní Aodhagain, B Nic Dhonnacha, M Ní Dhroighneain, P Ní Fhlatharta (1-0), B Ní Cheallaigh, V Summer, G Ní Thaibhis, MC Ní Chathasaigh, K Young (0-1), R Ní Chamhsi (0-2), S Ní Aodhagain (0-5), M Ní Chadhain (0-3), M Ní Thuathail (2-1). Subs: T Ní Ogain for M Chathasaigh (25 mins), D Seoighe for B Nic Dhonnacha (51 mins). Roscommon: H Cummins, J McNulty, F Gavin, S Keenehan, L McNulty, M Keenehan, C Kelly (0-1) T Taylor (0-1), S Kenny (0-1), L Harrison, AM Carley (0-2), S Sharkey (0-1), L O’Connor (0-2), R Kelly (0-1), C McHugh (1-1). Subs: L Sharkey (0-1) for F Gavin (18 mins), F Beirne for S Keenehan (18 mins) M Freyne (0-3) for R Kelly (22 mins), E Casey (1-4, 0-3 frees) for Harrison (H/T), N Coyle for L O’Connor (52 mins). Referee: J Niland (Sligo).

Written by Stephen Glennon.
Connacht Tribune
July 18th 2008

Connacht Council Chairperson, Geraldine Carey, presents Conamara full forward Mairead Coyne with the Player of the Match Award after the 2008 Connacht Junior Championship Final in Tuam Stadium.
Connacht Council Chairperson, Geraldine Carey, presents Conamara full forward Mairead Coyne with the Player of the Match Award after the 2008 Connacht Junior Championship Final in Tuam Stadium.
Conamara Players Orla Breathnach, Geraldine McTavish, Áine Breathnach, Muiréad Breathnach and Helen Moran celebrate with Mairéad Ní Chadhain after the Gráinne Mhaols starlet received the Connacht Junior Championship Final Player of The Match Award.
Conamara Players Orla Breathnach, Geraldine McTavish, Áine Breathnach, Muiréad Breathnach and Helen Moran celebrate with Mairéad Ní Chadhain after the Gráinne Mhaols starlet received the Connacht Junior Championship Final Player of The Match Award.




Action Shot from 2008 Ui2B league encounter between Grainne Mhaols and St Brendans in Ballygar.
Action Shot from 2008 Ui2B league encounter between Grainne Mhaols and St Brendans in Ballygar.
Grainne Mhaols midfielder, Lisa Coohill is pictured in the back row, third from the left.
Grainne Mhaols midfielder, Lisa Coohill is pictured in the back row, third from the left.

Pastures New Pirate Queens
An American Tourist And The LGFA

A trip to Dublin? Sure, why not. There’s plenty for an American tourist to see: Trinity University, Guinness Brewery, museums. Accompanied by my friend who was the physio for the Gráinne Mhaols football club, we set off across Ireland. My plans were simple. I would meet the players the night before the games, drive to the pitch the following morning for a quick look at the tournament, and be in Dublin City Centre by late morning to spend the day visiting the sites I had carefully chosen from my Dublin tourist book. My camera was fully charged and ready. Friday evening was spent mingling in the hotel lobby and as expected the girls were off to bed early to ensure they were at their best the following morning. We all met again over breakfast, passed out maps, discussed driving directions and made our way to the pitch. We were met by a beautiful morning and countless teams representing all of Ireland. Immediately, I began to feel the excitement.

Gráinne Mhaols gathered and I tagged along to the assigned pitch. Stretching followed a few warm-up exercises and they were ready for their first challenge. The action was nonstop. While most clubs were equipped with twelve or thirteen players, we were fighting along with nine. By this time I had become part of the team and willingly accepted the role of photographer. As a newcomer I was struck by the physical fitness of these women and the range in the age of players, from teens through college age and up. There was nothing I could compare to it in the States. Only the very fortunate continue in a competitive sport past the school years. What a wonderful way to stay in shape, enjoy competition, and be a part of a family, which is what I found most rewarding at the end of the day. Having felt like a member of Gráinne Mhaols. As the sun fell low, my camera battery began to fade. Gráinne Mhaols had played a mighty day and made it to the semi-finals. I hadn’t made it to any of my tourist destinations, but as I left the pitch with the girls I knew I had experienced something very few tourists ever had, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Written by Jill

01 PIC 02 PIC 03 PIC 04 PIC 05 PIC 06 PIC

Grainne Mhaols Squad at the 2008 All Ireland Intermediate Sevens; Back Row (l to r) Veronica Lydon, Kim Young, Geraldine McTavish, Maire Coyne, Lorraine Heffernan and Mairead Coyne. Front Row (l to r) Riona Coyne (Mascot), Maryanna McDonagh, Brid McDonagh, Noreen Coyne and Brenda Mulkerrins.
Grainne Mhaols Squad at the 2008 All Ireland Intermediate Sevens; Back Row (l to r) Veronica Lydon, Kim Young, Geraldine McTavish, Maire Coyne, Lorraine Heffernan and Mairead Coyne. Front Row (l to r) Riona Coyne (Mascot), Maryanna McDonagh, Brid McDonagh, Noreen Coyne and Brenda Mulkerrins.


 Pictured at the 2008 Club Leadership Programme in Galway: L to R: Fiona Golden (Connacht Council), Geraldine Carey (Connacht Council), Melissa Wallace (Grainne Mhaols LGFA), Brid McDonagh (Grainne Mhaols LGFA), Fiona Mc Carthy (Connacht Council) and Mary Beades ( Connacht Council)

Pictured at the 2008 Club Leadership Programme in Galway: L to R: Fiona Golden (Connacht Council), Geraldine Carey (Connacht Council), Melissa Wallace (Grainne Mhaols LGFA), Brid McDonagh (Grainne Mhaols LGFA), Fiona Mc Carthy (Connacht Council) and Mary Beades ( Connacht Council)

Historic Junior Success Highlighted At Cruinniu Bliantúil Mná An Iarthair

The 2008 Annual General Meeting of Gráinne Mhaols LGFA Club was held in Ros’s Bar, Tully recently. In her opening address, Chairperson Melissa Wallace thanked all the club officers, committee members and managers for their efforts throughout the year. She added that there was still much work to be done re communication in order to ensure that Grainne Mhaols LGFA runs at full potential in all aspects going forward. She cited the latter as the the biggest challenge facing the club in 2009 and she stressed that she would be leaving no stone unturned in her efforts to enhance the general administration of all club affairs

Success in adult football within the county competitive structures eluded the West Connemara women who failed to reach either the County Senior League Final or County Intermediate Championship Final. Having lost their opening round robin championship encounter away to Clonbur by1-16 to 2-11 Grainne Mhaols staged a late recovery subsequently to force a draw away to Milltown on a scoreline of 0-7 to 0-7. Nothing less than outright victory at home to Tuam-Cortoon would suffice in Round Three but a below par performance in Clifden enabled the North Galway girls to exact sweet revenge for their semi final defeat at the hands of Grainne Mhaols last year. After such a tame exit in the most important competition of the season, a measure of redemption for the West Connemara girls came late on in the form of a first West Galway Senior League title in four years at the expense of County Intermediate Championship Finalists and All Ireland Intermediate Sevens Championship Winners, Clonbur. Gráinne Mhaols also competed in the latter and after advancing from the group stages in second place, they were defeated in the Shield Semi-Final by The Banner from Clare.

In many respects, the exploits of the Seniors were overshadowed by those of the Juniors. Melissa Wallaces’ charges annexed both the West Galway Junior B Title and the Stella Mangan County Sevens Shield Title and many of these players will be hoping to progress to the ranks of Intermediate Championship and Senior League Football in the year ahead. Five Gráinne Mhaols players featured in the thrilling Connacht Junior Championship Final between Roscommon and Connemara with full forward Mairead Coyne receiving the Player of the Match Award. Mairead also played a starring role in the Underdogs narrow defeat to All Ireland Junior Champions London. Lisa Coohill was very much to the fore at senior level with Galway and played exceptionally well both in the Championship victory over Laois and subsequent somewhat unlucky quarter-final defeat to reigning All Ireland Champions Cork. If participation levels are the true measure of success at underage level, then 2008 was a very positive year for girls’ football in West Connemara. Pride of place goes to the Under 11’s who captured the West Galway D title under the management of Johnny Salmon. It was also a year to remember for Zara Mortimer who was part of the Galway Under 14 squad that reached the All Ireland Final.

The following report was submitted by U14 Manager, Finian Sheridan. ‘’Training ran from Mid April to Mid September and we did about 25 sessions in total. In all, 27 players came along fairly regularly and the sessions were timetabled in for 430pm to 6pm which worked out overall. We played nine matches altogether and were given two walkovers. We reached the semi final of the league where we were well beaten by Caherlistrane and we were also well beaten by Naomh Mhuire in the championship. We seemed to be in the middle level of our division with a huge gap between the top and bottom teams. Long bus journeys to the far side of Galway or even to the city don’t add sufficient value in football terms in my opinion. We should seriously look at playing in a Connemara division in 2009. Many of the Connemara teams are now stronger than our teams. This was evident at the U13 West Galway competition this year which was run off over three consecutive Saturdays and was well organised. However, over three days, we won only one match from the six played. A Connemara division would mean a lot less travel and expense and would also give parents an opportunity to travel to matches.

Training was switched to Clifden this year to facilitate players as most of the U14 players are from the Clifden Community School catchment area. Despite the efforts by Brid McDonagh and Geraldine McTavish over the past two years to encourage Carna players to get involved, the response has been very poor. The skeleton training volonteers (two of us) were already well understaffed in dealing with the number of players we had each week in Clifden and we need more people involved in coaching to develop the potential that is in our underage players. Personally, I think that some of the senior ladies should in giving one or two evenings over the season to the one or other of the underage teams. It’s too much to expect that senior players would take over management of a team, that should be the role of parents or other volonteers, but if they came to one or two sessions, it would help significantly. I’d like to acknowledge and thank Maggie Birchmore for the huge assistance that she gave me in jointly managing the U14 team this year. She was there at all the training sessions and matches and took training sessions when I was absent. She also drove players to and from training sessions and nursed the many injuries and bruised egos. Although we didn’t win any cups this year, the whole experience was great and the girls seemed to enjoy it. They were very enthusiastic to play football, easy to work with and a credit to their parents.’’

The election of Officers followed. Chairperson Melissa Wallace, Secretary Paul Gannon, Vice Secretary James O’Neill, Treasurer Lorraine Heffernan, Vice Treasurer Lyn Heanue, Registrar Colleen Curran, Child Welfare Officer Mary Young, Integration Officer Bríd McDonagh, Oifigeach na Gaeilge Máire Ní Chlochartaigh, PRO Paul Gannon and Melissa Wallace. Committee Members Catherine Walsh, Maura Coyne, John Francis Flaherty, Mikey Flaherty. Honorary Presidents Mary Coyne and Ann Flaherty. The election of Management Teams followed. Senior/Intermediate Paul Gannon, Mary Young, John Francis Flaherty, Junior Helena Lydon, Paula Coohill, Maura Cloherty, Under 17/18 Paul Gannon, Mary Young, John Francis Flaherty, Under 15/16 Finian Sheridan, Mikey Faherty, Maggie Birchmore, Under 13/14 Melissa Wallace, Mikey Faherty, Under 11/12 Paul Gannon, Catherine Walsh, Celine Davis, James O’Neill. Under 9/10 Evelyn Faherty, Paul Gannon, Colleen Curran.


Written by Paul Gannon.
Connemara View
January 2009



The motion was defeated by 32 votes to 25 votes at the Galway LGFA Annual Convention in Loughgeorge. The Connacht Junior Inter County Championship competition hasn’t been played ever since.

Nicola Walsh, Paula Coohill and Noreen Coyne were the recipients of Special Awards at the 2008 Grainne Mhaols LGFA Annual Social which was held in the Atlantic Coast Hotel, Clifden.
Nicola Walsh, Paula Coohill and Noreen Coyne were the recipients of Special Awards at the 2008 Grainne Mhaols LGFA Annual Social which was held in the Atlantic Coast Hotel, Clifden.