Gráinne Mhaols thrilling 5-6 to 5-3 semi final victory in Letterfrack over St Michaels secured the club’s passage to its first Under-16 Championship Final since 2004. This final turned out to be a local derby, an all Connemara clash between Cailíní an Iarthair and Cailíní Dúiche Seoighe. The West Connemara girls were hoping to bring home the club’s second ever under age Championship title but had to give second best on the day to a well drilled Clonbur outfit. The class and experience of county players Cliona Kerrigan and Aebhín Seoighe had a huge bearing on the final outcome. Ladies football in North Connemara is on the crest of a wave at the moment and long may this ccontinue. Clonbur have done enormous work in recent years and are now reaping the benefits of same. Both Gráinne Mhaols and Clonbur will participate in the 2011 County Senior Championship. Hopefully, all of the girls who competed in this year’s County Under-16 Division 3 Championship Final, will enjoy many more championship battles at adult senior level for many years to come.
Gráinne Mhaols Seek Senior Championship Status
The Gráinne Mhaols adult football team will make their third appearance in six years in this year’s County Intermediate Championship on September 11th against either Milltown or Glenamaddy/Williamstown. The two sides drew 1-11 apiece in the play-off for the final on the weekend of August 28th and are set for a replay on Saturday September 4th. At the time of writing, a time and location venue for the county final had not been decided, but it is hoped that it will take place at Pearse Stadium.
The Connemara team experienced two defeats in the Intermediate Championship Final in recent years against Killannin in 2005 (3-8 to 2-9) and against Caherlistrane in 2007, when they suffered a serious collapse in the last period of the game. Gráinne Mhaols led by 3-8 to 3-7 with ten minutes to go when Caherlistrane scored five goals, leaving a devastated Connemara side reeling on a scoreline of 8-7 to 3-9. Despite the bitter nature of these past defeats, morale is high in the Connemara club looking to the final. Manager Paul Gannon feels that the balance of established players with inter-county experience and the tenacity of younger emerging players will see the West Connemara side fight their corner right to the end. The management team of Paul Gannon, John Francis Flaherty and Mary Young has been joined this year by physical fitness coach Margaret Moroney who has been extremely valuable in assisting the players to develop and maintain a keen competitive and athletic edge.
A nucleus of ten or so players currently on the Gráinne Mhaols Senior Team will be instrumental as mainstays of this championship final side. Significant experience at Inter County level is held by Double All-Star Lisa Coohill and present Galway player Mairéad Coyne who played against Cork in this year’s National League Division 1 final and was named Player of the Match in 2008 in the Connacht Junior Final for Connemara against Roscommon. Katie Coohill, Geraldine McTavish and the stalwart Máire Cloherty all bring with them their wealth of experience and familiarity with what is required in such games. Kim Young has worn the county colours at U12, U14 and U16 level and Chloe O’Malley has also played for Galway at U12 and U14 level. Sisters Bríd and Mary Anna McDonagh will also draw on their experience gained while playing for Connemara and Galway respectively at Junior Inter County level. Outstanding goalkeeper Becky Heanue, described by Gannon as “the best goalkeeper in ten years that hasn’t played for the county”, will be an integral part of the team as ever. Lorraine Heffernan, Paula Coohill and Noreen Coyne are also likely to figure strongly and younger emerging players who will be keen to get in on the action include Alison Coneys, Sarah Brittain, Emily Gibbons, Megan King and Doireann Sheridan.
Speaking before the final, Paul Gannon said, “With the experiences we have had in previous finals, we are certainly going into this one with our eyes open, but the blend of maturity, experience and energy that we have at present is tremendous. Our dream has always been to become a full senior team in both League and Championship and we are tantalisingly close to achieving this.” The team will also be buoyed by their 4-16 to 4-6 Senior League victory over St Brendan’s in April of this year at the new Letterfrack pitch. In Round One of the Round Robin Championship Gráinne Mhaols beat Kilkerrin-Clonberne 0-10 to 0-5. A depleted team, missing six of the starting fifteen were defeated by Milltown on a scoreline of 7-10 to 3-12, but Milltown’s subsequent unexpected defeat to Kilkerrin-Colonberne put the West Connemara side right back in contention. There was huge disappointment when Annaghdown declined to travel, resulting in an all too familiar scenario in recent years and this set up a ‘winner takes all’ situation ahead of the match against Glenamaddy/Williamstown. An epic battle ensued. Gráinne Mhaols were four points down after five minutes but rallied to go seven points ahead after twenty minutes. Half time saw the local side trailing by two points. Ten minutes into the second half, they led by three points but with ten minutes to go they once again found themselves behind by five points. They stuck to the task however and proceeded to score 1-3 without reply in those final frantic minutes, to prevail by a single point on a score of 4-11 to 5-7.
“That result was well merited,” says Paul. “The players didn’t panic, held their nerve and played with belief and composure right to the final whistle. Regardless of how the scoreboard looks throughout the match, we need more of the same resilience and determination that shone through that day, if we are finally to get over the line at this level. I hope that our four years of playing in the Senior League will give us the edge and make it third time lucky this year.” While Gráinne Mhaols are no longer in contention for the League final this year they remain strong contenders for the Division 1 League Shield title which is contested by the third and fourth placed teams. For now, however, all minds within the Gráinne Mhaols camp will be firmly fixed on the upcoming Intermediate Championship Final, when they will seek to dispel memories of previous defeats and grab the Holy Grail of Senior Championship football in 2011.
Written by Catherine Pryce.
Pirate Queens Ascend To Senior Throne
Gráinne Mhaols 4-13 Glenamaddy/Williamstown 2-3 The experience gained from playing four consecutive years of Senior League football coupled with a burning desire to atone for two previous Intermediate Championship final defeats in 2005 and 2007 were the crucial factors in ensuring that the adult footballers of Gráinne Mhaols LGFA Club finally earned the right place to dine at the top table next year with Corofin, St Brendans, Caherlistrane, Dunmore and Clonbur. Mná an Iarthair’s graduation to Senior Championship for 2011 has brought great joy and relief to players, supporters and management alike with the latter taking particular satisfaction from the accomplished and professional nature of the performance. Glenamaddy-Williamstown on the other hand can have no complaints on this occasion as they were outfought, outmanoeuvered and ultimately outclassed by their outstanding opponents for almost the entire duration of the contest. Gráinne Mhaols hit the ground running and in the process produced their finest display of football since their 2006 demolition of Milltown in the County Intermediate League final.
The foundation for this historic victory was laid in the opening ten minutes when the West Connemara girls took a vice like grip on proceedings all over the pitch. They seemed to have a complete monopoly on possession and this time they made it stick on the scoreboard. Inspirational captain Mairéad Coyne, operating at left half forward, led by example with the opening point after thirty seconds. She added two more in quick succession, corner forward Máire Cloherty followed suit with another, and after full forward Katie Coohill blasted an unstoppable rising drive into the top corner the writing was already on the wall for Glenamaddy-Williamstown even though the match was only eight minutes old. With Lisa Coohill, Geraldine McTavish and Kim Young in the ascendancy at midfield and the outstanding Maryanna McDonagh blazing a trail of destruction down the right hand side of the attack, Gráinne Mhaols really went for the jugular in that opening period. Mairéad Coyne tacked on two further points and then offloaded a beautiful pass to the on-running Lisa Coohill who planted a real piledriver into the roof of Johanna Connolly’s net on twenty four minutes.
The tenacity of Paula Coohill, Lorraine Heffernan and Fionnuala Hannigan-Dunkley in the Gráinne Mhaols half back line, allied to the assured handling and excellent reading of the play by corner backs Máire and Nóirín Coyne had kept Glenamaddy-Williamstown scoreless up to that point but they finally found a way through just before the interval when a peach of a pass from county minor Ailish Gannon put Heather Joyce in and she calmly rounded Gráinne Mhaols custodian, Becky Heanue before slotting the ball into the empty goal. It seemed as if the sheer quality of the score would surely spark a northern revival but Gráinne Mhaols response was both immediate and ruthless. Geraldine McTavish secured possession from the resultant kickout and drilled a long direct ball straight into Katie Coohill. Katie instantly released the ever available Lisa and her subsequent marauding run through the heart of the Glenamaddy-Williamstown defence culminated with a carbon copy of her first goal. It was vintage Lisa and in many respects the creation and execution of this third goal sealed the fate of her vanquished opponents as they now trailed by 3-6 to 1-0.
Glenamaddy-Williamstown needed a blistering start to the second half to get back into contention but right from the throw in Gráinne Mhaols reasserted their superiority when Geraldine McTavish picked out her old Carna club mate Maura Cloherty who supplied a sublime finish. This score set the tone for an incident packed first twelve minutes. The westerners spurned four great scoring opportunities, added on an excellent individual point from Maryanna McDonagh and had a goal from a Lisa Coohill 45 harshly disallowed. At the other end Becky Heanue pulled off a superb double save from Ailish Gannon, Heather Joyce shaved the post with a second goal chance and Máire Coyne made a timely interception on forty two minutes to prevent the final pass in a flowing movement from reaching its intended target. Glenamaddy-Williamstown were finally coming to terms with the magnitude of the occasion courtesy of some wonderful attacking football but they were hit with a real sucker punch on the three quarter mark. The industrious and hardworking Chloe O’Malley was the creator of Gráinne Mhaols fourth goal. She really impressed all through at top of the left despite not getting on the scoreboard and it was her perceptive pass that enabled Mairéad Coyne to execute a clinical close range finish. Further points from the captain and Lorraine Heffernan then extended the Gráinne Mhaols advantage to eighteen points with just ten minutes remaining. It was a lead of unassailable proportions.
The game was up for Glenamaddy-Williamstown but to their great credit they threw caution to the wind and attacked in waves thereafter in a bid to restore some semblance of respectability to the scoreline. Niamh Connolly missed a proverbial sitter and Ailish Gannon was unlucky to have her goal from a quickly taken free disallowed but she made amends on fifty six minutes with a confident finish from fourteen yards. The same player added a point from a free and Sinead Purcell pointed from play on the stroke of full time. Gráinne Mhaols now lead by 4-10 to 2-3 and finished in style with three excellent points in injury time, two from Lisa Coohill to crown a superb individual display, with the final score of the match coming from the boot of Brenda Mulkerrins. The latter was introduced as a second half substitute along with Alison Coneys, Doireann Sheridan and Emily Gibbons. They all performed admirably in their first ever county final at this level. Pride of place in the second half however goes to full back and former captain Bríd McDonagh. When the Gráinne Mhaols rearguard came under siege in that final frenetic quarter she was the one who led the resistance with mature and disciplined defending of the highest order.
Written by Paul Gannon
Ten Gráinne Mhaols players travelled to Dublin on September 26th to compete in the annual All Ireland Intermediate Sevens. Victories over St Brigids (Antrim), Garda (Dublin) and Coralstown-Kinnegad (Westmeath) secured them a second placed finish in Group 5 behind The Banner (Clare) and qualification for the Shield knock out competition for the fourth consecutive year. A comprehensive victory over Laois Intermediate Champions St Conleths set up a semi final showdown with arch rivals Milltown. In an epic encounter which rivalled any of their great matches over the years, Milltown prevailed by 5-3 to 4-5 and subsequently went on to win the All Ireland Final, a feat which Gráinne Mhaols themselves managed in 2007.
At the time of writing, the West Connemara girls are preparing themselves for a rematch with
Milltown on Sunday, October 3rd in the senior league knowing that victory will secure them a place in this year’s County Division One Shield Final (3rd V 4th). If they manage the above it will be the first time that the club has qualified for a senior final within the county competitive structure. It would be a big bonus and a great day out to reach a Senior League Shield Final but the main focus now is undoubtedly on the upcoming Connacht Intermediate Championship semi-final against Castlerea St Kevins in Roscommon on Sunday October 10th. No Galway club has ever won a Connacht Junior Championship and a Connacht Intermediate Championship. Dunmore (2004), Leitir Móir (2005), Annaghdown (2006), Caherlistrane (2007) and Tuam (2008) have all fallen at the final hurdle in the latter. Gráinne Mhaols, who won the Connacht Junior Championship in 2004, now have a wonderful opportunity to write themselves into the history books forever, and if they can reproduce their county final form in the Hyde next Sunday they should be just one match away from doing so.
Castlerea No Match For Galway Champions
Gráinne Mhaols 3-18 Castlerea St Kevin’s 2-3 Castlerea bowed out of the Connacht Intermediate Championship on Sunday when they were well beaten by a strong Gráinne Mhaol’s side in Hyde Park. The Galway champions hail from West Connemara, and reached the Galway Senior League Shield Final this year. Captain Mairead Coyne scored a good point for Gráinne Mhaol’s after 25 seconds. From the resultant kickout full-forward Marie Cloherty intercepted and finished to the back of the net. A minute later Rachel Ryan breached the Galway defence but grazed the outside of the post. Mairead Coyne and Lisa Coohill added further points for Gráinne Mhaol’s by the fifth minute. Castlerea’s reply came when Rachel Ryan was fouled. She pointed the resultant free. Between then and the break, Mairead Coyne added five points from frees and play and then set up a superb goal for wing-forward, Katie Coohill.
Gráinne Mhaols full-back Brid McDonagh took a chance throughout and played Rachel Ryan from the front. Her bold strategy paid dividends as she mopped up an abundance of ball intended for Castlerea’s most dangerous player. However, Castlerea hit a purple patch before the break, scoring 1-2. Eibhlin Flynn was fouled for a penalty, which Clare Rafferty dispatched with ease. Rachel Ryan and Sharon Ryan also added points to give them some confidence going into the break. At half-time the score was 2-10 to 1-3 in favour of the Galway side. Mairead Coyne and Cloe O’Malley added points for Gráinne Mhaol’s after the break before Rachel Ryan struck a super goal for Castlerea. She took possession close to the endline and ran directly at the Gráinne Mhaol’s goal before striking a powerful shot low past a stranded goalkeeper. Former Galway All-Star Lisa Coohill then showed her class. The midfielder was winning loads of possession and managed to add three further points with two of them coming from outside 40 metres. Castlerea worked really hard and had good performances from Lavinia Kelly, Laura Sweeney, Eibhlin Flynn, Rachel Ryan and Maura Cleary but lacked the experience required at this level. The Roscommon champions will be happy, however, that they will be playing senior football next year.
October 13th 2010
Dromahair Claim Connacht Crown After Pulsating Encounter
St Patricks Dromahair 2-10 Gráinne Mhaols 1-12 A year after the heart break of losing a Connacht Junior Final replay, the Dromahair Ladies continued their excellent recent form as they got the better of Connemara side, Gráinne Mhaols to bring the Tesco Connacht Intermediate title to Leitrim. In a situation of high drama, St Patrick’s, Dromahair grabbed a hard fought one point win in Sunday’s knife edged Connacht Ladies Intermediate Championship Club Final in Breaffy, Co Mayo thanks to Roisín Fowley who at the death coolly tapped over a point from a thirteen metre free.
There was an extraordinary amount of stoppages in the second half of Sunday’s decider that were caused by minor injuries to a number of players on either side with the result that Mayo Referee Michael Moran allowed a full ten minutes of extra time to be played. It was in this added on time that Dromahair dug deepest to secure victory. The North Leitrim side had to show a high degree of composure at this stage when the outcome was very much in the melting pot. The discipline displayed by the North Leitrim women when the chips were down in their final drive for victory was certainly exceptional and several members of the team raised their games to the highest standards to deny a determined and highly experienced Gráinne Mhaols the Connacht title. The sending off of Gráinne Mhaols’ fullback Bríd McDonagh to the sin bin for a high challenge in the 58th minute gave Dromahair a numerical advantage that they took full advantage of during the crucial climax of this encounter.
At the outset of this contest it looked as if Gráinne Mhaols would overwhelm Dromahair, who went four points behind. For most of the opening quarter Gráinne Mhaols attacked the Dromahair posts in waves and with most of the game being played in the North Leitrim side’s half, the omens seemed not to be favouring the St Patrick’s women. But the course of the game changed remarkably between the 14th and 18th minutes when Roisín Curneen and Roisín Fowley rifled home a goal each to the Gráinne Mhaols net and shortly afterwards Dromahair turned around what had been a four point deficit into a two point lead. While Gráinne Mhaols levelled the proceedings prior to the interval, Dromahair were now definitely at the races, with the second half still to be played and the game’s outcome up for grabs.
The second half turned into a tit for tat battle with both sides enjoying periods of supremacy and also having several anxious moments as well. The gods were smiling on Dromahair when Gráinne Mhaols’ top scorer Mairéad Coyne failed to convert two gilt edged goal chances in the 49th and 50th minutes. But Dromahair showed that they were the bravest and most committed team in the last thirteen minutes of the action when they held Gráinne Mhaols scoreless and wiped out the Galway side’s three point’s advantage during this period before nabbing a late win. While the Dromahair forwards, aided by their midfielders, delivered the scores that secured a narrow and sweet victory during the crucial last thirteen minutes, the north Leitrim side’s backs performed like true heroines in this period when successfully repelling several Gráinne Mhaols’ attacks that could have easily changed the final outcome in the Connemara side’s favour.
Gráinne Mhaols got off to a flying start and led by 0-5 to 0-1 on the thirteenth minute mark. In this period Emily Gibbons hit over two points for the Galway side with Mairéad Coyne (free), Geraldine McTavish and Lisa Coohill adding a point each from play while Roisín Fowley replied with an opening point from play for Dromahair. However Dromahair were put right back in the game in the 14th minute when Roisín Curneen shot to the Gráinne Mhaols net after receiving a pass from Roisín Fowley.
But Gráinne Mhaols in response stretched their lead to three points over the next three minutes after Mairéad Coyne, from a free, and Katie Coohill, from play, shot a point apiece. Those Gráinne Mhaols scores were cancelled out by Roisín Fowley’s nineteenth minute goal which drew the sides level and a minute later Fowley gave Dromahair the lead for the first time when she pointed from play. Erin Farrell then increased Dromahair’s lead to two points when she shot over in the twentieth minute but there was to be no separating the sides as the half drew to a close. Mairéad Coyne whipped over two Gráinne Mhaols’ frees that made the halftime score Dromahair 2-3 Gráinne Mhaols 0-9.
Dromahair ‘keeper Michelle Dolan denied a goal bound effort when pulling off a top class save from Gráinne Mhaols’ Lisa Coohill, ninety seconds after the restart. But then Lorraine Heffernan edged the Galway side ahead with a thirtysixth minute point from play. However Roisín Curneen two minutes later levelled the game with a similar Dromahair score. The stalemate continued for another eighteen minutes during which time Roisín Fowley for Dromahair, in the fortyseventhth minute, and Gráinne Mhaols’ Mairéad Coyne, a minute later, swapped a point each. Dromahair had a let off on the double in the fortyninthth and fiftiethth minutes when Mairéad Coyne drove two clear-cut Gráinne Mhaols’ goals chances wide, both from close range. After that Dromahair regained the lead courtesy of a Roisín Fowley free.
But Gráinne Mhaols went back in front again when Mairéad Coyne hammered home a goal three minutes from time and then she added a point from a free conversion almost immediately. Upping their game in one last ditch effort, Dromahair fought back and made it level pegging in the first five minutes of injury time after Roisín Fowley, Erin Farrell and Joyce Cunningham shot a point each without any reply from Gráinne Mhaols. The Galway side had a let off in this period when a goal bound Joyce Cunningham effort went inches wide. It then seemed as if the game would perhaps end in a draw as another five minutes of injury time was played.
But it all spectacularly changed in the last of these five minutes of added on time when at the conclusion of Dromahair’s final onslaught on the Gráinne Mhaols’ posts, the Galway women conceded a thirteen metre free, which Roisín Fowley popped over to take the Connacht crown home to the banks of River Bonet for the first time ever. St. Patricks, Dromahair: Michelle Dolan, Sharon Kelly, Mary Farrell, Mairéad McMorrow, Marcella McGovern, Leonie Conlon, Edel Fowley, Sinead Fowley, Anna Conlan, Mairéad Fowley, Joyce Cunningham 0-1, Roisín Curneen 1-1, Deirdre McDermott, Roisín Fowley 1-6, Erin Farrell 0-2. Sub Maeve O’Neill for McDermott (52 mins). Gráinne Mhaols: Becky Heanue, Máire Coyne, Bríd McDonagh, Brenda Mulkerrins, Paula Coohill, Nóirín Coyne, Lorraine Heffernan 0-1, Geraldine McTavish 0-1, Lisa Coohill 0-1, Katie Coohill 0-1, Mairéad Coyne 1-6, Maryanna McDonagh, Emily Gibbons 0-2, Máire Cloherty, Chloe O’Malley. Subs: Fionnuala Hannigan-Dunkley for Paula Coohill (20 mins), Paula Coohill for Máire Cloherty (Half Time). Referee: Michael Moran (Mayo).
Written by PJ Leddy
October 22nd 2010
Dromahair Prevail In Pulsating Provincial Decider
St Patrick’s, Dromahair 2-10 Gráinne Mhaols 1-12 Gráinne Mhaols dream of becoming the first ever Galway Club to win Connacht Championships at both Junior and Intermediate level was destroyed by Leitrim Champions St Patrick’s, Dromahair in the cruellest possible fashion in Breaffy on October 17th last. This 2010 Connacht Intermediate Championship Final was a captivating contest, with both sides serving up some wonderful passages of play in the process. For both sets of supporters, it was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. They played their part in the drama that unfolded and in hindsight could so easily have been re-enacted, but there would be no sequel.
The Galway champions settled quickly and opened up a four point lead after twelve minutes. The opening point from a Mairéad Coyne free was quickly cancelled by a rasping reply from Leonie Conlon but further points from Geraldine McTavish, Lisa Coohill (free) and Emily Gibbons (two) put Gráinne Mhaols in a strong position early on. They were rocked back on their heels, however, at the end of the first quarter when an incisive Dromahair attack initiated by their hugely impressive midfielder Sinéad Fowley culminated in wing forward Róisín Curneen blasting home a great goal, to leave the minimum between the sides. Gráinne Mhaols responded to this setback in the best possible fashion with two quick points from Mairéad Coyne (free) and Katie Coohill but they were hit with a real sucker punch on twenty minutes when Joyce Cunningham’s long range attempt at a point ended up in the back of the net. Her opponents were rattled, and urged on by their huge and very vocal support , St Patrick’s hit the front for the first time with a brace of points from Leonie Conlon and Erin Farrell. The Dromohair girls were now in the ascendancy, sharp and alert all over the field and very astute in their distribution.
Gráinne Mhaols in contrast were finding it more difficult to cope with the greasy underfoot conditions. They were struggling to retain possession and were being opened up too easily at the back. Dromohair’s two goal salvo had taken the wind out of their sails but driven on by the inspirational leadership of former Double All Star Lisa Coohill, they rallied for the second time and restored parity once again. Defensive indiscipline on Dromohair’s part was punished by Mairéad Coyne who pointed two close in frees. Her second one, from way out in the left corner, was a real beauty and left the sides deadlocked at the interval on a scoreline of 2-3 to 0-9.
The West Connemara girls improved immeasurably on the resumption. They tightened up considerably in defence and started to dominate around the middle. They created a number of gilt-edged chances during this purple patch but they were all spurned, much to the dismay of their supporters. Lisa Coohill and Chloe O’Malley both went for goals when the point was there for the taking. Mairéad Coyne failed to convert two glorious goal chances and Maryanna McDonagh was also wide of the mark when it seemed easier to score. If the 2-5 outlined above had been converted there would have been no way back for the Leitrim girls but it wasn’t to be. In the midst of all this drama, Mairéad Coyne hit a free which came off the underside of the bar and appeared to cross the line. The umpire who was closest to it raised the green flag initially and then inexplicably changed his mind. It was a decision that was to have devastating repercussions for the West Connemara girls.
The opening score of the second half was an excellent effort from Lorraine Heffernan. Superb defending by Bríd McDonagh denied Dromohair a third goal just before Deirdre McDermott’s equalising point. Full forward Róisín Fowley then edged Dromohair ahead only for Mairéad Coyne to respond in kind with a superb point of her own. The sides were now level for the fifth time in the match, on a scoreline of 2-5 to 0-11. Róisín Fowley’s pointed free with ten minutes remaining tilted the balance in her side’s favour once again but they were then dealt a potentially fatal blow one minute later when Mairéad Coyne blasted home a brilliant goal after Maryanna McDonagh’s perceptive pass put her clean through. The Gráinne Mhaols captain then converted her fifth free of the afternoon to open up a three point gap between the teams with just eight minutes left on the clock.
The momentum was now well and truly with the Pirate Queens who appeared to be entering calm waters after weathering the earlier storm. Appearances can be deceptive however and the pendulum suddenly swung back again in favour of St Patrick’s on fifty three minutes when Gráinne Mhaols most impressive defender Bríd McDonagh was sin binned. Bríd’s misfortune gave the Leitrim girls a new lease of life and they poured forward in droves thereafter in a desperate attempt to draw level and force a replay. Their incessant pressure paid off in the form of three unanswered points from Erin Farrell, Joyce Cunningham and Róisín Fowley. The match was now deep in injury time and both sets of supporters waited with bated breath for the final whistle and the prospect of another big day out.
Mayo referee Michael Moran didn’t concur with the general consensus however and allowed play to continue. Gráinne Mhaols launched one last offensive only for Lisa Coohill to be harshly pulled for overcarrying, and from the resultant free, Dromohair worked the ball close in until one of their players was adjudged to be fouled, dead straight in front of the goal. Róisín Fowley made no mistake from close range, the referee blew the final whistle on the resultant kick out and a rare Connacht title was destined for Leitrim. As the hoards of red and white supporters rushed on to the field in a spontaneous outpouring of emotion, the ecstasy of the victors and the agony of the vanquished were there for all to see and feel. Mná an Iarthair maintained a dignified silence throughout the post match presentation before retiring to the quiet sanctuary of their dressing room with their management team.
St Patrick’s midfielder Sinéad Fowley received the Player of the Match award but I would have given it to Lisa Coohill. Others to impress were Mairéad, Nóirín and Máire Coyne, Bríd and Maryanna McDonagh, Lorraine Heffernan and Emily Gibbons. The victors had heroines in defenders Mary Farrell, Leonie Conlon and Edel Fowley while Róisín Fowley led the line superbly up front and was ably assisted by Joyce Cunningham and Mairéad Fowley. They are wonderful ambassadors for Leitrim football and their story this year may yet have a fairytale ending. Gráinne Mhaols can be well proud of their immense contribution to this wonderful gaelic sporting spectacle. They fought the good fight and lost on this occasion but there is no dishonour in defeat. They will regroup, refocus and respond as they have always done in the past.
In conclusion, I would like to wish St Patrick’s, Dromohair every good fortune in their All Ireland Semi-Final on November 7th when they will face the might of either Clare Senior Champions, West Clare Gaels or London Senior Champions, Parnells. Gráinne Mhaols will also be in action on November 7th in the County Division 1 League Shield Final (3rd v 4th) where the opposition will be provided by this year’s County Senior Championship Runners Up, Dunmore. Hopefully, the Leitrim and Connemara sides can make a mockery of their underdog status on the day.
Written by Paul Gannon.
Dunmore Secure Division One League Shield Title
A thrilling encounter against County Senior Championship Runners Up Dunmore ended all square when Sarah Conneely landed a last gasp point for the North Galway side. Gráinne Mhaols were left to rue a series of missed chances particularly in the last quarter, and the prematch favourites really upped the ante subsequently in extra time. Dunmore eventually gained a measure of compensation for their heartbreaking two point County Championship Final defeat to Corofin by annexing the Shield title on a scoreline of 3-10 to 1-9. Gráinne Mhaols will have learnt a lot from their last competitive outing of a year to remember. It was disappointment on the double for Connemara when Clonbur lost out to Corofin by 2-9 to 2-6 in a fiercely contested Division 1 League Final. Meanwhile the Gráinne Mhaols Annual Dinner Dance goes ahead in the Alcock and Brown Hotel, Clifden on Friday December 3rd. Special Guest is Renvyle native Johnny Kane. Johnny managed both the Galway U16 and U18 Camogie teams to All Ireland success in 2010. He will present the Gráinne Mhaols with their County Intermediate Championship Winners medals and Connacht Intermediate championship Runners Up medals. A number of Special Awards will also be presented on the night. The Gráinne Mhaols Annual General Meeting takes place next January, date and venue to be confirmed.
Written by Paul Gannon.
The 2010 Annual Social was held at the Alcock and Brown Hotel, Clifden and it was a very joyous occasion with a number of special presentations to some key personnel who were moving on to pastures new. I kicked off the formalities with the following address of acknowledgment; ‘’ The journey to Senior has taken many years and we wouldn’t have got there without a lot of financial help along the way. Tonight gives me the opportunity to thank our various sponsors over the years. When the club was set up in June 2001 we got financial donations from Renvyle Sports and Social, Forum in Letterfrack and a number of Primary Schools. In 2004 3 year sponsorship deals were established with Sweeney Oil, John Wallace Bus Hire, Broderick’s Electrical and Peter Keane. We would also like to thank all the people who’ve supported our Monthly Draw, the people who switched from Eircom to Gaelic Telecom, the many businesses who gave money in our Who Wants To Be A Thousandaire Joint Venture with Na Fianna Rua Olympic Handball Club, Jackie Dowd and Josie Conneely who sponsored gear in 2004 and the various business who sponsored our matches on Connemara Community Radio. And last but not least, all the Darts Players who have supported our many different competitions over the last three years.
Re 2010 in particular, I’d like to thank the following people; Gerry Gannon from Gannonsport who sponsored us a new set of jerseys; David Griffin from Griffin’s Bar who sponsored us polo shirts for our Connacht Championship campaign; Chris and Brigid Shanahan of Top Service Station who sponsored the live commentary of the County Final on Connemara Community Radio; Albert Conneely of Conneely Taxis who sponsored the live commentaries of both the Connacht Semi Final and Connacht Final and Jackie Dowd who sponsored us drinks for all of the above matches. And last but certainly not least, our Executive Committee. We had a lot of meetings during the year which were very businesslike and constructive and after all my years working on various committees within both GAA and LGFA, this is something I never take for granted. I think we are all in agreement that the cornerstone of every club is its under age structure and if Grainne Mhaols is to survive and thrive as a Senior Club going forward, we need to maintain, develop and improve our present underage structures going forward.’’