Mná an iarthair Midseason Review
The advent of high summer every year generally coincides with the midway point of the Galway LGFA season with the league campaigns having drawn to a close and a sense of expectation and anticipation preoccupying the thoughts of all the players ahead of their respective and impending championships. Grainne Mhaols U14s will be full of self belief and optimism after annexing the Division 3 League title and will be relishing the autumnal challenge of Division 2 championship. Comprehensive victories over Caherlistrane, Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir, An Cheathrú Rua, Micháel Breathnachs and Salthill/Knocknacarra, allied to a walkover from St Furseys, saw Eddie Flaherty and Majella Coyne’s charges qualify impressively for a showdown in Oughterard against a rejuvenated Salthill/Knocknacarra. The seasiders deservedly led at the interval as Grainne Mhaols seemed to struggle somewhat with the tag of favouritism but it was a different story on the resumption when a devastating third quarter offensive of blitzkrieg proportions yielded a rich harvest of scores for cailíní an iarthair and they eventually prevailed on a final scoreline of 3-10 to 1-7. After the battle was won, Grainne Mhaols Captain, Ciara Nee was presented with the silverware by Galway LGFA Treasurer, Íde Nic Dhonnacha. Galway LGFA Executive Committee would like to extend a special word of thanks and appreciation to Ann Gorham of the Celtic shop in Clifden for kindly sponsoring the brand new Division 3 cup in this age group.
It was a great all round team performance characterised by an admirable work ethic throughout but in the final analysis, it was the individual class of left half forward Seren Griffiths (scorer of 2-5) allied to the finishing prowess of right half forward Emily Mc Conway (scorer of 1-3) that proved to be the essential difference between the two sides. Errant shooting up front cost Salthill/Knocknacarra dearly as a host of well created chances went by the wayside in both halves. Grainne Mhaols custodian Edwina Mannion had an inspired innings all through and her penalty save on the stroke of half time was a key turning point re final outcome. Others to impress for the winners were full back Noreen Coyne, centre back Katie Flaherty, midfielders Sinead Daly and Ciara Nee, and County player Megan Walsh who played a very influential role in the second half. Grainne Mhaols LGFA would like to extend a special word of congratulations to Megan on her recent Connacht Final success over Mayo. The Cleggan native was one of Galway’s top performers in the ensuing All Ireland semi final defeat to Kerry.
Grainne Mhaols Under 12s were undefeated in their Zonal League courtesy of victories over Cárna/Caiseal, Naomh Anna Leitir Móir and An Cheathrú Rua, and walkovers from Micháel Breathnachs and Na Piarsaigh. They duly advanced to a County Quarter Final at Division 2 level but had to give second best to a well drilled Bearna outfit on a final scoreline of 2-8 to 0-5. Nevertheless, there were many positives and encouraging signs to emerge from the league campaign and the management team of Majella Coyne and John McDermott will be mindful of same as preparations for the rigours of championship continue in earnest over the coming weeks. The Under 16s had a very frustrating and unsatisfactory league campaign at Division 3 level. Heavy defeats at home to Glenamaddy/Williamstown and away to St Gabriels put paid to any hopes of a league final appearance but a place in the Shield final did eventually materialise in farcical fashion after Mountbellew/Moylough, Bearna and Menlough/Skehana all failed to field. The County Under 16 Division 3 Shield Final in Killannin was a rematch between Gráinne Mhaols and St Gabriels and it was a fiercely fought affair that went right to the wire. St Gabriels got their hands on the trophy courtesy of a 3-8 to 1-10 final scoreline but the losers restored a bit of pride and self respect after the earlier debacle in Aughrim. A large proportion of the Grainne Mhaols Under 16 panel will be involved in the upcoming Under 18 championship in August and the practice and experience gained therein should stand them in good stead ahead of their own championship campaign the following month.
2016 has seen the unexpected re-emergence of Grainne Mhaols onto the adult football scene after a lapse of two years. Last year, four Grainne Mhaols players played under permissions to play with Clonbur at senior level with another five doing likewise with Na Piarsaigh at Junior C level. It was expected that this scenario would continue for one more year but the change in the permission to play rule (henceforth only three players per club) and the reformation of Cárna/Caiseal LGFA after a lapse of nineteen years changed the demographic landscape completely and culminated in the amalgamation of Grainne Mhaols and Na Piarsaigh. This team which is captained by former double All-Star Lisa Coohill was graded at Division 4 level for league purposes and acquitted itself well therein. Comprehensive victories over Glynsk, Salthill/Knocknacarra and St Marys Killererin constituted the best possible start but subsequent defeats to Menlough/Skehana (2-8 to 2-5) and Kilkerrin/Clonberne B (2-7 to 2-5) put paid to any prospect of promotion.
Na Piarsaigh/Grainne Mhaols duly qualified for a Shield final joust with St Marys Killererin and this low scoring affair was not one for the faint hearted. The North Galway girls emerged victorious on a final scoreline of 1-6 to 1-4 and their Connemara counterparts will have to improve significantly up front if they intend to make a meaningful impact in his year’s County Junior A championship. Na Piarsaigh/Grainne Mhaols host Mountbellew/Moylough in the opening round in Letterfrack on July 9th and then travel to Leitir Móir on July 23rd for their second and final match in Group A. Group B comprises St James (Division 3 League winners), Glynsk and Tuam/Cortoon. The top two sides in each group qualify for crossover semi finals with the third placed team being eliminated. Na Piarsaigh/Grainne Mhaols will be minus the services of Mairéad Coyne but would like to congratulate her on all her fantastic achievements in rugby and wish her and all her Irish teammates well in their ongoing preparations for the 2017 World Cup.
Meanwhile on the fundraising front, Grainne Mhaols Executive Committee would like to thank everybody who supported their recent Coffee Morning in the Station House Hotel, Clifden, (this was a joint effort with Connemara RFC) and their annual Churchgate Collection. The annual Bag Packing at SuperValu, Clifden goes ahead on Saturday June 16th and the list of Monthly Draw winners is outlined below:
October 2015: Majella Coyne €100; Sara O’Malley €50
November 2015: Sarah O’Malley €100; Majella Coyne €50
December 2015: Agnes Ridge €100; Paddy Gannon €50
January 2016: Grainne Gavin €100; Marty Mannion €50
February 2016: Collette Gannon €100; Mary King €50
March 2016: Tony Coyne €100; Lorraine Heffernan €50
April 2016: James O’Neill €100; Nicola Walsh €50
May 2016: Marty Mannion €100; Nicola Walsh €50
The June and July draws will be held at the July Executive Committee Meeting.