Grainne Mhaols first ever Senior Championship matchthe players went ahead in May 2011 against the might of St Brendans. It was a proud and historic occasion for everyone associated with the club and the players responded in the best possible manner by putting in a highly committed and wholehearted performance full of honest endeavour and parochial pride. It was St Brendans second visit to Letterfrack inside twelve months and they were on high alert after losing by eight points in the 2010 Senior League fixture. The Ballygar/Newbridge girls were also at absolute full strength unlike one year previously, and on the day they had too much strength in depth to be ambushed a second time. St Brendans deservedly took the honours by 2-10 to 1-6 but Grainne Mhaols maiden voyage at the highest level had left them in fine fettle ahead of their impending Connemara derby away to Cailini Duiche Sheoigheach.
Clonbur blew Grainne Mhaols out of the water in the opening exchanges of their eagerly awaited championship match the following month and twenty minutes into the tie, the hosts were in complete control in all aspects of the play. Their superiority at that stage was rightfully reflected in a scoreline of 2-7 to 0-1 and a defeat of embarrassing proportions looked on the cards for their opponents. An opportunist goal courtesy of Sinead Salmon right on the stroke of half time appeared to offer only token resistance with her side still trailing heavily at the interval by 2-9 to 1-3. Grainne Mhaols management made twelve positional switches ahead of the resumption in a desperate attempt to reinvigorate the players, and against all the odds and in defiance of all logic, these changes had the desired effect. What transpired over the next thirty minutes was the greatest comeback in the club’s history culminating in a two point victory on a final scoreline of 3-10 to 2-11. Grainne Mhaols had won a first ever senior championship match, an achievement that has never been emulated in the intervening years. St Brendans ensuing 2-13 to 1-8 victory over Clonbur, consigned the latter to a relegation final with Caherlistrane and confirmed Grainne Mhaols place in the penultimate round.
Grainne Mhaols opponents in the ensuing semi final in Oughterard were the reigning county champions Corofin and they were ruthless and clinical in their demolition of the new kids on the block. Grainne Mhaols were outclassed from start to finish and the final scoreline of 4-12 to 1-5 didn’t in any way flatter the team backboned by a plethora of adult and underage inter county players. Worse was to follow for their vanquished opponents at the end of the season, in the form of relegation from Division One to Division Two of the County Adult League after five years in the top tier.
On October 12th 2011, I wrote the following letter for the attention of Michael O Neill at Connemara West Ltd in Letterfrack
‘’On behalf of the Executive Committee of Gráinne Mhaols Ladies Gaelic Football Club, I hereby confirm that our gaelic sporting organisation is fully supportive of Diamond Hill Housing Association’s Grant Aid Application, for the purposes of constructing an Astroturf All-Weather Pitch in the village of Letterfrack.
Gráinne Mhaols LGFA Club currently boosts a playing membership in excess of one hundred. We field teams at U-11, U12, U13, U14, U16, U18 and Adult Senior Level. Over the years, we have incurred huge costs re training our respective teams because there is a serious lack of infrastructural sports training facilities, within the West Connemara Region that we represent. As a direct consequence of the above, our players have had no option but to avail of other sports facilities which are quite a considerable distance from our home base. This has been a very costly exercise logistically, financially and in terms of time management.
Gráinne Mhaols LGFA Club is very excited about the prospect of having an Astroturf Pitch in Letterfrack. The advent of same, would alleviate a lot of the travel and the financial burden, but more importantly, it would invigorate and rejuvenate the gaelic sporting experience for all our players, at all levels within the club. We commend Diamond Hill Housing Association on its foresight and vision in these matters, and we wish it every success in its ongoing vocational work on behalf of the girls and women of West Connema
The 2011 AGM went ahead in the Connemara Community Radio Meeting Room on February 5th 2012. SEE REPORT FURTHER DOWN THIS PAGE- IT NEEDS TO BE TIDIED UP
Outgoing Chairperson James O’Neill thanked al those who worked hard on the club’s behalf during 2011 particularly on the fundraising side in the latter end of the year. Underage results were disappointing overall but the numbers are healthy and we should be able to field in all age groups. He congratulated the senior team on retaining their championship status and wished them well in their efforts to regain senior league status in 2012. Outgoing Treasurer Moira Burghoffer presented a detailed set of accounts which were unanimously approved. Outgoing Secretary Paul Gannon publicly acknowledged the trojan work that Moira had put in all year re both finance and player registration. Paul and James explained the new arrangement between Gráinne Mhaols, LGFA and the Connemara Darts Association to all present. CDA will be a source of residual income to the club going forward and the meeting expressed its satisfaction with this new state of affairs.
Re transport it was agreed that buses will only be provided in 2012 for matches that are outside of Connemara. Car pooling will apply for all matches within Connemara therby reducing expenditure significantly while simultaneously enhancing and increasing the level of parental involvement and support.
The Election of Officers and Management Teams followed;
Chairperson: Tonya Ní Chuirrín
Vice Chairperson: James O’Neill
Secretary: Mairéad Coyne
Vice Secretary: Noírín Coyne
Treasurer: Paul Gannon
Vice Treasurer: Albert Conneely
Registrar: Moira Burghoffer
P.R.O Richard Dunkley
Oifigeach na Gaelige: Bríd Nic Dhonnacha
OCMs: Brendan O’Malley, Eddie Flaherty, Patricia Dunford, John Francis Flaherty
Child Welfare Officer: Mary Young
Letterfrack Pitch Administrative Committee Representative: Tonya Ni Chuirrin
Under 12 Management Eddie Flaherty, Brendan O’Malley, Paul Gannon
Under 14 Management Tonya Ní Chuirrín, James O’Neill, Becky Walsh
Under 16 Management Kim Young, Fionnuala Hannigan-Dunkley
Under 18/Senior Management Deferred