The Inaugural Peter McMahon Memorial Cup was held in Glynsk House on January 13th last. There was a very high entry of 51 players from all over Connemara with several close exciting contests. The standard of darts was extremely high particularly in the latter stages. Ultimately the honour of becoming the first ever winner of this prestigious trophy fell to Galway County player Tommy Flaherty from Leitir Mór. Tommy is also the Chairperson of the Galway County Darts Board. He defeated Renvyle’s Alan Flaherty in a nailbiting final. Alan had earlier defeated Richie McMahon in his semi-final. This competition was organised by CPB Ghráinne Mhaoil.
The John Hynes/Jack Coyne Perpetual Cup was hosted by the Renvyle Inn on January 26th last. There was an overall entry of 21 pairs and it was a night of high drama with several unexpected outcomes. Many of the pre-tournament favourites were knocked out in the earlier rounds with the exception of the defending champions Peter Lyons and John Roger Heanue. They held their nerve brilliantly all night and reserved their best form for the final itself when they overcame the gallant Renvyle duo Conor Conneely and Mark Fitzpatrick. This tournament was organised by Johnny Coyne in association with Gráinne Mhaols LGFA.
Mná an Iarthair would like to take this opportunity to extend a special word of thanks to the Management of both Glynsk House and The Renvyle Inn for their generous donation of additional prizes to the raffle. We would also like to express our appreciation to Michael Clotherty of Glynsk House who kindly provided sandwiches free of charge and to Collette Gannon who prepared the food for the John Hynes/Jack Coyne Perpetual Cup.
Written by Paul Gannon
On October 31st 2009, I headed for the heart of Mayo to represent my club at a strategic planning event organised by the Connacht Council in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris.
Appreciative Interview in Pairs. (Grainne Mhaols delegate Paul Gannon was paired with a representative from Achill LGFA)
In the aftermath of the above event, I submitted the following set of proposals for consideration re impending LGFA Strategic Plan.
Proposals for Connacht Club Forum
Re Ladies Gaelic Football Association
National Strategic Plan 2009-2016
Venue: McWillliam Hotel, Claremorris
Date: October 31st 2009
Proposer: Paul Gannon
1) That the Aisling McGing Senior B Cup competition for counties of senior status be discontinued.
2) That the following counties be allowed to enter a B team (i.e. up to a panel of 30 players) into the All Ireland Intermediate Championship in 2010: Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Armagh, Donegal, Monaghan, Down, Tyrone, Dublin, Meath, Tipperary, Cork, Kerry, and Clare.
NB Players who played in the All Ireland Senior Championship in 2009 would not be allowed to play in the All Ireland Intermediate Championship in 2010.
3) That the following counties be allowed to enter a C team (i.e. up to a panel of 30 players) into the All Ireland Junior Championship in 2010: Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Armagh, Donegal, Monaghan, Down, Tyrone, Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Laois, Tipperary, Cork, Kerry, and Clare.
NB Players who played in the Aisling McGing Cup in 2009 would not be allowed to play in the 2010 All Ireland Junior Championship because they would be considered to be of Intermediate standard.
4) That the following counties be allowed to enter a B team (i.e. up to a panel of 30 players) into the All Ireland Junior Championship in 2010: Roscommon, Waterford, Westmeath, Longford, Kilkenny, London, Cavan, Fermanagh and Antrim.
Reasons for Proposal One
1) To maximise participation levels within the National Inter-County Structure at Senior, Intermediate and Junior level.
2) To give all inter-county footballers at Senior, Intermediate and Junior level a potential opportunity to participate in an All Ireland Final in Croke Park.
1) That the following teams contest the 2010 Connacht Junior Championship: Mayo B, Galway B, Galway C, Sligo B, Leitrim B and Roscommon B.
2) That the competitive structure re the above be as follows: Two Groups of 3. Round Robin inside each group. Crossover Semi-Finals (1st Group One v 2nd Group 2, and 2nd Group One v 1st Group 2).
Third placed team in each group play a Plate Final.
Semi-Final Losers play a Shield Final for the existing Connacht Junior Cup.
Semi-Final Winners play the Connacht Junior Championship Final for the Aisling McGing Cup.
The above structure guarantees each participating team a minimum of three matches and a Connacht Final (i.e. Cup, Shield or Plate). Run off the three finals as a treble header on the same day.
Reasons for Proposal Two
1) To maximise participation levels within the Provincial Inter-County structure at Junior Level.
2) To give all Inter-County Junior footballers in Connacht the experience of participating in a Provincial Final (i.e. Cup, Shield or Plate).
1) That the County Junior B Club Championship Winners in Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Galway and Roscommon participate in an inaugural Connacht Club Junior B Championship in 2010.
2) That the County Junior C Championship Winners in Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Galway and Roscommon participate in an inaugural Connacht Club Junior C Championship in 2010.
These two championships could be run off in the exact same knock out manner as the Connacht Senior, Intermediate and Junior A Championships or, alternatively, as a One Day Blitz or a Weekend Blitz in Round Robin Format with the appropriate match duration being factored in.
Reasons for Proposal Three
(I) To maximise the participation levels of club footballers in Provincial Championships.
(II) To enhance the status of Junior B and Junior C club football in Connacht.
None of the above proposals were subsequently implemented by the LGFA at either provincial or national level. Grainne Mhaols LGFA has not been represented within any national or provincial review process in the intervening years but the club has submitted various developmental proposals to GLFA re internal county adult and underage competitive structures during that time. A number of these developmental proposals have been implemented, notably the introduction of a zonal league system prior to the knockout phase in U12, Shield finals in all the adult divisional leagues and most recently, the introduction of both an Intermediate B championship and a Senior B championship thereby mirroring the long established B and C championships within the ranks of Galway junior club football.
K2 was the venue for the 2009 Gráinne Mhaols AGM which was held on December 16th last. At adult level the club had a relatively successful season. Gráinne Mhaols annexed the West Galway Senior League and Stella Mangan Sevens Shield titles. The adult players also reached the Inaugural Connacht Intermediate Sevens Shield final in Breaffy and the All Ireland Intermediate Sevens Shield semi final in Dublin.
However, the County Intermediate Championship once again proved to be the achilles heel of this particular bunch of players. Comprehensive victories over Milltown (6-16 to 0-2) and Annaghdown (5-8 to 1-2) in the round robin phase of the above paled into insignificance on a cold wet day in Rosmuc when Murphy’s Law prevailed in a hugely disappointing 2-11 to 1-8 semi final defeat to their great North Connemara rivals from Dúiche Seoighe. Lamenting the fact that lady luck had deserted them in that aforementioned championship defeat, John Francis Flaherty and Mary Young both acknowledged the need for a tighter social bond and collective vision among the players. ‘’It this can be achieved in the year ahead, then there is no reason why senior status cannot be achieved’’, they added. Clonbur subsequently defeated Glenamaddy to attain Senior Championship status and if Gráinne Mhaols are ever to emulate this outstanding achievement then the present intermediate panel will have to display much greater levels of commitment and physical fitness going forward.
Re U11/U12, James O’Neill and Moira Burghoffer informed all present that their squad had a great season, reaching the West U11 B (lost to Leitir Moir by 2-3 to 1-1) and the county Under 12 D League final (lost to Michael Breathnachs by 4-2 t0 1-4). They were subsequently very unlucky to lose out to Dunmore on a scoreline of 1-6 to 2-2 in the quarter final of the championship. James and Moira added that the depth of talent among the players allied to the tremendous level of parental involvement and support really augurs well for the future of the club. Under 13/14 Manager Melissa Wallace complimented her squad on their footballing endeavours throughout 2009. The highlight of the year was reaching the West U13 championship final subsequently against Leitir Moír. The U14s reached the semi final of the West Galway Feile in Moycullen where they lost out to An Cheathru Rua. Numbers in this age group were somewhat depleted with many of the players a bit small in stature. Nevertheless, it was a really enjoyable positive experience for both herself and Lucy Lydon, and Melissa concluded her report by acknowledging the dedication and the commitment of the four players who were selected for the Galway Under 14 Development Squad. Whether any of these make the final cut remains to be seen. At Under 16 level Finian Sheridan’s charges were very unlucky not to reach the Division 3 championship final after putting in a tremendous semi final performance against hotly fancied Moycullen who went on subsequently to win the final. The U18s had to give second best to a very impressive Naomh Mhuire outfit in the semi final of the Division 2 championship.
Treasurer Lorraine Heffernan presented all present with a comprehensive and accurate set of accounts. She thanked all the Darts players and Monthly Draw members for their ongoing support of Ladies Football in West Connemara. The 2010 Monthly Draw will be recommencing on the last Monday in March and new members are most welcome. The election of officers followed. Chairperson James O’Neill, Vice Chairperson John Francis Flaherty, Secretary Paul Gannon, Registrar Colleen Curran, Treasurer Lorraine Heffernan, Public Relations Officer Moira Burghoffer, Oifigeach na Gaeilge Bríd Nic Dhonnacha, Child Welfare Officer Mary Young, Youth Development Officers Emily Gibbons and Alison Coneys. The election of management teams/managers followed. Under 9 Collette Gannon, Moira Burghoffer, Colleen Curran, and Paul Gannon. Under 11/Under 12 Paul Gannon and James O’Neill. Under 13/Under 14 Moira Burghoffer and Paul Gannon. Under 15/Under 16 Finian Sheridan, Under 17/Under 18 Mary Young, John Francis Flaherty and Paul Gannon. Intermediate/Senior Mary Young, John Francis Flaherty and Paul Gannon. The following people were elected to represent the club as delegates at County Board Meetings in Loughgeorge; Lorraine Heffernan, Bríd Nic Dhonnacha, James O’Neill, John Francis Flaherty and Paul Gannon.
A special word of thanks and appreciation was extended to outgoing Intermediate captain Bríd Nic Dhonnacha in recognition of her outstanding dedication, commitment, inspirational performances and leadership on the field of play over the previous three years. Bríd’s teammates Lisa Coohill and Mairead Coyne were congratulated on their provincial inter county success with Galway Seniors and Juniors, respectively. Mairead Coyne was further congratulated on her graduation to the ranks of the Galway Senior Panel and all present wished her every success in her maiden voyage at the highest level. Outgoing Chairperson Melissa Wallace and outgoing Registrar Colleen Curran were complimented on their outstanding administrative contribution to club affairs throughout 2009.
Paul Gannon informed all present that he had completed the LGFA Level One Coaching Course in Garrymore over two weekends in July and August with a number of practical assessments to be carried out and recorded during the intervening period.’’ It was a very challenging, very informative and ultimately very rewarding and fulfilling experience’’, he added and ‘’I wouldn’t have got through it without the help and support of our players and also the Na Piarsaigh juniors who gave me a great welcome in Rosmuc. Coach Education is the most important and definitely the most complex aspect of the whole gaelic sporting experience so it was great to get the opportunity to get the inservice. I’d like to thank our Treasure for making the funds available to cover the cost of the course, and rest assured, I will do my very best going forward to make sure that the club gets a good return on its investment.’’
In conclusion, CPB Ghráinne Mhaoil would like to extend a sincere word of thanks and appreciation to a number of people: Ann Gorham for her help and cooperation re darts trophies, Jimmy Gibbons who has kindly offered to wash and dry all the various sets of club jerseys free of charge throughout the season, and Gerry Gannon of Gannonsport who kindly sponsored a set of jerseys for the Intermediate team. Our Club Executive would also like to take this opportunity to congradulate Foscadh on its superb new creation, namely, the Letterfrack Community Sportsfield. We are very happy and proud to have representatives on the newly constituted Pitch Administration Committee and we look forward to making a positive and meaningful contribution to same for many years to come. Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile
Written by Paul Gannon.