Armagh

Ard Mhaca and The Ladies Football Association

1970 – 2004

Armagh has always been a stronghold for the game of Gaelic football and indeed the first All Ireland title to come to Ulster Gaelic football was won by an Armagh Junior county team back in the twenties.

Ladies football commenced in Armagh sometime around 1970 with Lisummon forming a team to take part in an un-official Louth League. Hugh Meehan and his sons Francie and Brian, along with Fr.Pat Cassidy, were instrumental in getting the team going and indeed other teams sprung up around Silverbridge and the surround area, and played at sports days etc or whatever the occasion be.

In 1974 the Association was founded in Tipperary and eight teams took part in the first All Ireland in which Tipperary defeated Offaly, to become the first All Ireland Champions. The then Sunday press edition Nov. 3rd 1974, on the Sunday after the final, carried a modest small article on the previous Sunday’s Final and this encouraged Hugh Meehan from Lissummon, to write to Jim Kennedy who was the first President, asking for the advice on joining and entering a county team in competition. The letter is as follows:

41 Lisummon Road

Garretspass,

Newry,

Co. Down,

Dear Mr Kennedy,

I am interested in Ladies GAA football, as we have a ladies team going in my area Lisummon since the early 70’s. The team had played in a County Louth League, and here in the county in tournaments and sports day events with other areas who are interested in football. I had the pleasure to read in the Irish Press the report of your county Tipperary’s great win over Offaly in the Final. I also read the article in the Sunday press last Sunday on Ladies football.

I would like to find out, how a team from our county could enter the All Ireland Competition and what procedures we would have to take. I would like to find out all the particulars about the game and the rules we would have to follow. We play the game here in Armagh and Louth with the same rules as the men’s GAA, however we allowed them to touch or pick the ball of the ground.

I ran a ladies tournament during the summer here in Lisummon and it was a great success. We had teams from Louth and our area in the county taking part. I received a cup from a local businessman Hugh O’Hare and we were delighted that Lisummon were the first winners. We hope to continue with the tournament every year, as the tournament was a great success and have got a lot of people interested in ladies football. I congratulate you and wish you well as chairman of the ladies council and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Faithfully,

Hugh Meehan

A history of the Armagh ladies is as follows, A ladies football team Lisummon started in Co. Armagh in early 1975. It was Fr.Pat Cassidy R.I.P. and Hugh Meehan who formed the ladies team. They enlisted Brian Meehan as trainer and Manager. The ladies team played challenge matches at sports days anywhere it was available. Fr.Pat Cassidy was later moved to Middletown parish where he started another ladies tea.

During the year 1976 Hugh Meehan thought it was time to try and encourage more ladies teams to become involved. There was a meeting called in Lisummon Hall and representatives from different areas were invited. There was a good response and representatives from other clubs came to the meeting. It was decided at this meeting to set up a county board.

Then a League and Championship was drawn up and four teams participated in this. About nine months later it was decided to form a county team. Ladies from various areas were selected and they were managed by Peader McCoy. The trainer was Francie Meehan. The team selectors were Sean Reilly, Annie McGlorey and Sean Judge. The P.R.O. was Malachy Finnegan. Andy Judge was Secretary and Hugh Meehan was Chairman.

The county team played their first game against Co. Cavan, which they lost but they gained a lot of knowledge from the game. Then they played a challenge match with Louth and got beaten again. For the next four months they trained very hard and then met Cavan in the Ulster Final. The Co. Armagh team played well and the game ended with a draw. The replay of this game was in Breffni Park at the unusual time of twelve o’clock. Cavan won and went through to the next round. The following year four teams ended up in the same group, Cavan, Louth, Meath and Armagh. Armagh travelled to play Tipperary and Roscommon for challenge games. The Armagh team competed well against other teams and gained a lot of experience. In this year at club level there were only five teams in the County at any time. This meant that we could only run one League and one Championship at one level. This didn’t work too well as clubs with more experience than others won the league and Championship 3 years in a row.

After a few years with continual playing, there was very little difference between the teams. There were 11 players from the County team selected for the Ulster panel and they did themselves credit. The County team and the Co. Board ceased around 1980. Some of the teams went on to play camogie. It was very difficult to get new clubs involved. This meant that the panel on the Co. Board didn’t change over the years and maybe if there had have been new people on the panel, putting forward new ideas, it might have kept going. Most of the ladies who were playing had to leave for different reasons.

A lot of thanks must go to the Secretary and the Co. board, Mr. Andy Judge and the Chairman Mr. Hugh Meehan, who attended meetings at Ulster and Central Council level.

During the early years of the Co. board, owing to the troubles in the North at the time, it was difficult to get the girls to travel to county training sessions and also meetings had to be called off.

Teams who competed in the League or Championship were:

Lissummon, Belleeks, Whitecross, Middletown, Killeavy, Crossmaglen, Graenmore, Silverbridge, Dromintee and Oliver Plunketts.

Armagh County Board was formed at a meeting in the Canearas Building, Armagh in February 1992 with Brendan Dardis (Meath) attending.

The following officers were appointed:

Chairman: Kieran Cullen (Grange)

Vice Chairperson: Maura McNally (Derry Michaels)

Secretary: Jackie Hughes (Derry Michaels)

Treasurer: Deborah McGinerin (Clady)

P.R.O.: Michael McElroy (Carrickcruppin)

Registrar: Philip O’Hare (Imeagh)

There was an under 16 championship and the teams who took part were Mullaghbawn. Iveagh and Lisummon. Imeagh defeated Lisummon in the final.

The senior league comprised of eight teams:

Derry Michaels, Iveagh, Mullaghbawn, Armagh Harps, Tullsaron, Keady, Clady and Grange.

The league was unfinished due to Derry Michaels not playing their last game. After an investigation by the Ulster Council Derry Michaels were suspended for three months and the league disbanded.

Eight teams took part in the senior championship and Derry Michaels defeated Iveagh in the County Final by 2-8 to 2-4. Derry Michaels were defeated by Carrickmore (Tyrone) in the semi-final of the Ulster club Championship.

Ulster Council

Jackie Hughes was assistant secretary of the Ulster Council in 1992.

Philip O’Hare was registrar of the Ulster Council in 1992.

County Players 1992

Derry Michaels: Jackie Hughes, Patricia McEvoy, Pam Finnegan, Bernadette Quinn, Edel O’Rourke Iveagh: Sheillagh Duggan, Catherine McEvoy Mullaghbawn: Treacy Teggart, Sinead McKeown, Tracey O’Hare, Collette Burns, Carrickcruppin: Sharon Hughes,

Clare McCabe Armagh Harps: Rosie McClelland, Lorraine Cannin, Shirley Powell, Catriona Powell, Orlagh McGleehan Tullsaron: Geraldine McKenna Clady: Mary McGeary, Sinead Savage Grange: Paula Keegan, Nuala Kelly, Margaret Kelly

Lisummon: Helen McElvanna

In 1993 Armagh Harps did the double when they won division 1 League and Senior Championship. It seemed to be the year for doubles as Niamh Mhuire also had double celebrations, when they won the junior Championship and Division 2 League.

The following year Lisummon a very small club but with a long history in Ladies football, also won the ‘Double.’ It would be five years before this would be achieved again at this level.

Crossmaglen Rangers a newly formed club in 1996 made rapid progress and were runners up in the 1997 Junior championship. But in 1998 they won the Junior Championship and the Division 2 League.

In the intervening years Tullsarren Clan Eireann and Killeavey, all got their hands on the Junior Championship cup, while in the Division two League. Grange, Killeavey and newly formed club Derrymoore all won honour’s.

At senior level the 1990’s belonged to Mullaghbawn. They were the dominant force in the county, indeed such was there stronghold on all major trophies, that no one else got a look in. They won the Senior Championship and Division 1 League in three consecutive years, ’94, ’95 and ’96, a marvellous record and one that will take some beating at top level.

However there was one team that went one better and actually won four doubles on the trot; you’ve guessed it Mullaghbawn, under 16’s in 93, 94, 95 and 96.

During these years other clubs such as Tullysarron, Armagh Harps and Killeavey were all improving with the latter winning Division 2 in 1996 and went on to acclaim Division 1 honours in 1997 and retained their title when they defeated Tullysarron in a play-off in 1998.

Armagh Harps were also improving and were Senior Champions in 1997, when they defeated Mullaghbawn in the final. They also retained their Championship in 1998, when they defeated Killeavey.

Over the next number of years many new names appeared on the trophies. New clubs who have come in have an abundance of young players and it is great to see clubs from the North and Mid-Armagh becoming involved and it may not be long until we see the names of Ballyhegan, Setanta or Carrickcruppin all competing for major honours.

Armagh Ladies Gaelic Football

Armagh Ladies Gaelic would like to thank everyone in the county who has contributed to the development of ladies football within Ulster in the past ten years.

As a result of this commitment and hard work, we as a county board have experienced immense achievement, namely reaching the Ulster Final in 2001, only to be narrowly beaten by 5 points.

More recently the ladies county team put up an excellent display of football on Sunday 16th March ’03 in Clones, when they defeated Derry to lift the Trudy Kearns Cup. Congratulations must go to the team and management on this wonderful achievement. This was a great day for players, managers and supporters. Long may the success continue.

The team on that day was:

Patricia Garvey (Tullysarran), Aislish Murphy (Derrynoose), Elaine Mallon (Killcarrick), Orla Murtagh (Lisummon), Caoimhe Marley (Ballymagen), Bronagh O’Donnell (Crossmaglen), Katrina Curry (Tullysarran), Rosie McClelland (Clann Eireann), Alma O’Donnell (Crossmaglen), Shauna O’Hagan (Clann Eireann), Julie Wilson Capt. (Clann Eireann), Sharon Duncan (Crossmaglen), Geraldine Grimley (Breda), Aileen Matthews (Killcarrick), Maighdlin McAlinden (Clann Eireann)

Substitutes:

Finnula McAtamney, Mairead Tennyson, Maura McArdle, Shauna Powell, Orla McGleenan, Sinead Reel, Anita Druse, Martina Hoye, Sharon Daly, Nicola Sloan, Cora-Ann Trainor, Michelle Meehan, Sharon Meehan, Maria Donnelly, Aine McEntee.

Armagh Ladies would like to congratulate the men on winning the All Ireland titles in 2002 and in 2004 the U-21 title.

Armagh who consider themselves the pioneers of ladies football in Ulster, as football was played at least five years before the association of an Cumman peil gael na mBan was founded in 1974. the late Hugh Meehan and the late Fr.Pat Cassidy, had a team in Lisummon and played in a Louth league with Louth Parish teams, Mullaboy, StPats Cooley, Haggartstown and Shellagh, from 1971 and indeed other sided Armagh selections at sports days that were popular in those years. Many girls would also be active in camogie with long established clubs and the field game would not have been so difficult to come to terms with.

Armagh’s day in the sun came in the year 2004, thirty years after the association was started, when they erased the bad memories of 1976 and ‘77 defeats to Cavan in the final. Again in inaugural year of the current Ulster Council in 1992, when Armagh once again bowed the knee to Monaghan in the final who advanced to win their first All Ireland title. Of course as stated above, Donegal sent them back to the Orchard with an empty basket in the 2001 final. But as the proverb says; it is a long road with out a turn and that turn came in 2004 at Clones in the Ulster Junior Final when the girls from the county of Armagh defeated old rivals Cavan, with sweet revenge for those early days defeats by Cavan.

In 1976 and ’77 the Armagh team that carved their names in the history of the county were as follows:

Denise Hagan, Julie Wilson, Elaine Duffy, Alish Murphy, Nicola Smith, Bronagh O’Donnell, Dearbhla Toalm, Alma O’Donnell, Caroline O’Halon, Mairead Tennyson, Maighdlin McAlindeen, Meabh Moriarty, Gearldine Grimbley, Ailen Matthews, Maria Donnelly, Fionnuala McAtammney, Maura McArdle, Nicola Sloan, Orla Fox, Orla Murtagh, Paula Powel, Clodagh McCann, Marian McGuinness, Dearbhla Murtagh, Aoife Lennon, Sarah Marley, Ciara Hayes, Colleen Mallon

Managers~ Hayley Boyle, Jackie Clarke

Physio~ Nicola Morgan

Ballyhegan Davitts GFC

Ballyhegan Davitts are currently celebrating their centenary year and it is appropriate that in this of all years, that two of its best-known players Paul McGrane and Paddy McKeever should honour the club by winning All-Ireland Senior Medals. Ballyhegan is a very small and tightly knit area where Gaelic games are central to the life of the community.

In 1998 Leo Marley and Martin Murray undertook to introduce Ladies football to the club and in the first year entered a team in the U16 competition. The interest in the game quickly grew and the following year a senior team was formed. The girls were fortunate to receive tremendous support from the club and for the next three years were managed by two Senior players Gerard Markey and Dermot Tiffney, Assisted by Frances McKeever and Mary Keegan.

During this time the team twice travelled across to Manchester to compete in competition and in 2000 reached their first Junior Championship final, which they lost to a stronger Mullaghbawn side.

In 2001 Plunkett McCormack and Barry Murphy took over the management reins with Claire Murray helping out, while Frances McKeever switched her efforts to the development of an U14 team and Mary Keegan was elected to the chair of the Armagh Ladies County Board.

Once again the Davitts made it to the Championship Final and this time had to play three times before being finally beaten by Grange after having drawn in their first two matches.

In the current year Ballyhegan were beaten in the semi-final of the Championship by eventual winners Derrynoose and were runners-up in the League.

The U14 team competed for the first time this year and with an enthusiasm that argues well for the future of ladies football in this club.

Carrickcruppen

Carrickcruppen GAA Club was founded in 1945 and has many notable successes in men’s football and at underage boys level over the year, including four Senior County Championship titles.

Ladies football got off the ground officially in the club when a team was entered in the Armagh U16 competition in 1995. a nucleus of young players were forth coming through at that time due mainly to the efforts of Michael McElroy who had initiated coaching of girls football in the club and in the local primary schools some years earlier.

Michael McElroy and Pat McGuinness, who was also Secretary of the overall club, managed this U16 team known as St.Brigids, jointly for the first few years. Michael also continued with his valuable work of coaching in the schools during this period.

The team played with great enthusiasm during these early years and the girls really enjoyed their games even though heavy defeat were suffered at the hands of more established clubs like neighbours Killeavy and Derrynoose. The first notable success came in 1999 when the team won a four-team tournament run in Carrickcruppen and sponsored by local businessman Jim Hughes. In recent years tremendous work had been done at administrative level by Mrs. Josephine Crilly, who is also Secretary of the ladies county board. In 2001 the club won the U16 Championship for the first time beating an excellent Clann Eireann team by one point in the final. The team was trained and managed by Pat McGuinness, ably assisted by Pat O’Hanlon and Josie Crilly. Some valuable help and advice was also given by former Armagh back Jim Finnegan.

This young team had just one member over-age for the 2002 season, the captain Colleen Mallon. With the standard of football and skill levels noticeably increasing, the team has just recently completed a fantastic double of successes by lifting the County trophy for the second year in a row.

The club had not yet progressed to Senior level but hopefully this will happen in the near future, building on the success at underage level. Some excellent players have emerged over the past few years like Caroline O’Hanlon and Colleen Mallon, who are currently on the Armagh Senior County panel and also Marian McGuinness, Joanne Millar and Sara McPartland, who have played at U16 and Minor levels for the county. The future looks bright indeed for the ladies football in Carrickcruppen

Team panel: Charlotte Rooney, Pamela Murphy, Jennifer Millar, Fionnuala Bradely, Niamh Hughes, Siamsa McDonald, Megan Hughes, Yvonne Loughran, Marian MCGuinness, Joanne Millar, Danielle O’Grady, Shauna McCann, Ciara McEnaney, Amy Flynn, Louise McNulty, Alana Carroll, Cara McCullough, Aoife O’Hanlon, Sinead Finnegan, Colleen Mallon (Capt.), Sara McPartland, Emma Mc Cartney, Paula McGuinness

Clann Eireann

A Lurgan team by the name of Niamh Mhuire was formed on Sunday 1st May 1993. Jim Boyle was elected Chairman, with Jim Burns and Claire Seely as secretary and treasurer. In their maiden season the Niamh Mhuire made it through to the Junior Final. On this occasion the girls overcame a gallant challenge of Lissummon. The U16 team also reached the County final but were unlucky to be beaten by a strong Killeavy team.

Having to obligate fixtures and compete effectively with no backing as a challenge. In 1995 Pat McMahon Chairman of Clann Eireann had been watching one of the games in Clann Eireann Park, when he realised that most of the team on that day where from Clann Eireann, so he decided that the club should take them under their umbrella. Clann Eireann now belonged to one of the very few clubs in Ireland that catered for every Gaelic sport.

With great support and enthusiasm from Marie Hoye and Aideen Lavery, ladies grew from strength to strength and women from surrounding clubs in the North Armagh came to Clann Eireann. This enthusiasm was rewarded in the 1996 season, when the girls once again won the Junior County Final against an established Grange team.

Ladies football in the county was improving at a fast rate and Clann Eireann were not going to be left behind and with a very impressive youth structure in the club, the girls responded to the challenge. 1999 saw the Senior girls emerge as Division 2 League Championships and the U16’s as League and Championship runners-up, defeated only by strong Killeavy challenges.

2000 was to be another successful season in Clann Eireann. The club played an invitational sevens tournament in Florida in March 2000. For the first time the club could field teams at U14, U16 and Senior levels. The U14’s narrowly lost out on success in a league playoff against Derrynoose. The U16’s got revenge on Killeavy defeating them to the League and Championship titles. The Seniors set up a mouth watering final with Crossmaglen and inexperience left them on the wrong end of the result.

2001 brought another county final appearance but the result was the same. However these girls have big hearts and one week later they participated in the All Ireland Intermediate Sevens on Saturday 29th September. This cold yet sunny day will live long in the memories of the team for they excelled themselves in all sectors to win their group and beat the favourites Glen of Derry to lift the title. For the coaching team of Michael McMahon, Marie Hoye, Christine Hagan and all the players the pure ecstatic emotion will always be remembered with pride.

With additions to the U14 and U16 teams, Clann Eireann returned to winning ways, lifting the U14 League and Championship trophies. The U16’s were keen to retain their titles. They won the U16 League undefeated but lost out by a point to Carrickcruppen in a thrilling final.

In 2001 the Armagh Ladies team established themselves as a force in Ulster, reaching the Ulster Junior Final. Seven Clann Eireann girls were represented on the panel led by Captain Julie Wilson, Martina Hoye, Denise Hagan, Mags McAlinder, Shauna O’Hagan, Maria Donnelly and Rosie McClelland. Clann Eireann ladies had eight players on the county minor panel and a further four on the U16 panel; an achievement that makes Clann Eireann very proud. This county contingent epitomises the fact that Clann Eireann ladies is certainly one of the top clubs in the county and received the award for ‘Club Of The Year-2001.’ They also picked up a couple of individual awards. Meabh Morierty received ‘Player of the Championship’ and received along with Maria Donnelly joint ‘U16 County Player of the Year’ award.

Continued work by Michael McMahon, Marie Hoye and Christine Hagan will help Clann Eireann promote ladies football in Armagh and Ulster. They recognise that you are only as good as your players on the field and commends all the commitment from the girls.

Crossmaglen Rangers

The club was formed in 1996. They reached the final of the Armagh Junior Championship in 1997 when they were defeated by Killeavy. In 1998 they were finalists again beating Lisummon. Six Intermediate titles in a row have been won- 1999, 2000, 20001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Many of these girls are still playing successfully in 2004.

Derrynoose

The Growth of Ladies Football

The ladies Gaelic football scene in Derrynoose began in 1990 with an amalgamation with a number of players from Newtownhamilton, hence the club name ‘Derrymichaels.’

From that time until now, the club had seen many changed and have had some great people come through the ranks.

Such managers as John Maken and John Lennon will always be remembered for their contribution. Other members of what could be known as the backroom team have been of great help to the club, such as Jimmy Hughes, Adrian McNally and Seamus Lennon.

All these men have brought their love and knowledge of the game to the ladies of Derrynoose.

The main anchors of the club are the great Ann Hughes and Maura McNally. These two stalwarts have made the club what it is. Both once played but have since hung up their boots to take on a more managerial role.

Ladies football has grown immensely from the outset and Derrynoose players have been there from the start. There are three levels in Derrynoose at the minute, U14, U16 and Senior. We currently have two county panellists, both young and very talented in the form of Aoife Lennon and Ailish Murphy.

It is hoped by the ladies Gaelic squad that football in Derrynoose will continue to grow both in numbers and stature in the coming years and prove that not just men can bring honour to their club.

Championship and League Honours:

Senior Championship

1992 Derrymichaels 2-8 Iveagh 2-4

1994 Derrymichaels 4-17 Mullach Ban 5-4

Senior League Division 2

Runner up 1997

U16 League and Championship 1997

League 1998

Runner Up League 2001

U14 League 2000

Junior Championship 2002

Division 2 League 2002

Killeavy GAC

Established in 1990, St Moninna Killeavy Ladies Gaelic football club was founded by Owen Reel. Under the guidance, management and sponsorship of Owen, girls started to play at initially at U14 and U16 level. Although we never took part competitively until 1991, there was a large panel of girls interested in playing Gaelic football in the locality.

A Senior team was established in 1992 in which a lot of the younger girls played their part. While reaching the Junior final three times within four years, we had to wait for lady luck to shine on us in 1997. In this year we done the double winning both the Championship and League. We have yet to win a Senior Championship. We have yet to win a Senior Championship, but we have had Senior League success. We are knocking on the door and hopefully it will be soon. Recently, some of the girls from our local, Carrickcruppen have joined our Senior team and therefore we now play under the title of Kilcarrick Gaels.

On the underage front, initially we had a very successful couple of years under Vincent McCann, a great worker in helping in the development of ladies football in Killeavy. Vincent took the teams to great success, with many titles to their credit. The underage football is still going strong in Killeavy under the management of Sinead Reel and Cora-Ann Trainor. Although there has not been much success, they are working hard with a large group (40) girls, who are still very young and their success is imminent in the future.

Over the years different people have offered their services, too many to mention in the fear of leaving someone out. Two men who have also contributed sponsorship for the first time in ladies football are Vincent McGuinness (McGuinness Plant Hire) and Peter Doran (Dorans Kitchens). Their sponsorship is greatly appreciated. Also this year, Owen Reel Auto Repairs has sponsored new tracksuits for the Senior team. Football cannot take place on the field unless there is an administration behind it. Fortunately for Killeavy ladies they have Owen and Sinead Reel and Cora-Ann Trainor, who attend all meetings and look after all the paperwork, which is essential for any girl to have before they play football.

The only drawback is that with any club, help is always needed, so as I finish this report I would ask anybody who has daughters, sisters or any female relative playing ladies football, to volunteer their services to any aspect of ladies football.

You will never be turned away.

Lissummon

Ladies football was first played in Lissummon in 1970. The team was organised by Fr.Pat Cassidy and Hugh Meehan. At this time the girls had first started to play soccer but had difficulty heading the ball, so they switched to Gaelic. At this time Middletown was the only other team playing.

The ladies at this time had to travel south for challenge matches and tournaments. Other teams were then formed in 1971. In 1976 it was Hugh Meehan who suggested that Ladies football be played on a wider basis and a ladies County Board was set up. Lissummon won the Senior League and Championship in 1977, 1978 and 1979.

The present day ladies team entered the Armagh League in 1993. They went on to win the 1994 Championship and League. The team has continued since this time and is currently in Division 2. Despite being a small geographical are with low population levels, Lisummon ladies football has continued with many players from neighbouring areas.

Mullach Ban Cuchulainns

Ladies football started in Mullaghbawn in 1989 when Larry Crilly formed a team to play a number of friendly and tournament matches against Carrickcruppen and Saval from Down. The following year the Armagh Ladies County Board was formed and officially competitions were set up in both League and Championship. Mullaghbawn affiliated to the County Board and was represented at County Board by Larry Crilly.

Mullaghbawn have competed at both Junior, Senior and underage levels since 1990. They won the Senior Championship in 1994, 1995 and 1996 and the Division 1 League in 1995. During the last ten years Mullaghbawn have won the U16 Championship four times and the League three times. They have also won the U14 League and Championship three times, the most recent being 1999.

Mullaghbawn players have had honours of representing their County at Senior Level over the last 12 years namely Louise Quinn, Orla Teggart, Tracy O’Hare, Martha O’Hagan, Susan Tierney, Sinead Murphy, Tracy Teggart, Collette Byrnes, Pauline Faughey, Michella Bennett, Orlaith Smyth, Mairead Tennyson, Catriona Murphy, Caroline Kelly and Linda McGlade. Whilst Catriona Murphy, Marie Larkin, Mairead Tennyson and Elaine Hearty have played for the County U16 teams. Also Niamh Murphy, Caroline Crilly, Fiona Leonard and Gillian Norton.

Larry Crilly has been involved in the management of ladies football at Senior and underage level for the past twelve years, assisted by Dolores Teggart for most of them.

George Kelly, Damien McCann, Patrick McCoy, Charlie O’Hare, Liam O’Sullivan, Michael McElroy and Colin Quinn have all been involved in management through the years.

Mullaghbawn Seniors took a break from football 1999 but reformed in 2000, winning Junior League and Championship.

Tracy Teggart has the distinction of winning an inter-provincial medal in 1998 playing for her province.

O’Connells GAC Tullysaran

Tullysaran Ladies football team were formed in 1994 as part of O’Connells GAC. Two years after the formation the Tullysaran girls won the Junior final and the next year against all odds were in the final of the Senior Championship but were unfortunate to loose out to a strong Mullaghbawn team. During the following two years the girls were knocked out in the semi-final of the Championship and finished third in Division 1 of the League. In 1999, we reached the final of the Senior Championship, only to be beaten by Crossmaglen, but some consolation for the girls was that they went on to win Division 1 League- the first time Tullysaran have ever won the title.

Because numbers were low within the club at underage level, we amalgamated with another local club, Grange to form an underage team known as St.Endas. St.Endas ladies football team was formed in 1996. Their biggest achievement was when the girls reached the U16 Championship final in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and were extremely unfortunate to come out runners up each year. Both the girls from Tullysaran and the Grange have made first team appearances with their Senior teams in vital League and Championship games.

Over the last number of years Tullysaran have had a number of girls on the County panel at Senior, Minor and underage. Both Geraldine Grimley and Nicola Smith have represented Tullysaran on the Ulster squad. Geraldine captained the winning squad that won the first Ulster Plate. Nicola travelled to America to play ladies football for several years, while there Nicola won an All Star Award. When Armagh reached the Ulster final in 2001 Tullysaran were represented with five players and the following year we had two representatives on the panel who were knocked out in the semi-final of the Ulster Championship.

Sarsfields Ladies GFC

Location: Sarsfields GFC is situated on the Southern shores of Lough Neagh in Derrytrasna, six miles outside Lurgan. Their neighbouring ladies clubs are Clann Eireann and Eire Og.

Club Colours: The team sponsor, Bay Hall Social Club, Derrytrasana, presented the ladies with a new kit in the traditional colours of green and white hoops.

History: The Sarsfields (High Moss) GFC was formed in 1926 and on this the 75th Anniversary of the club a Senior Ladies football team has been formed for the first time. In the 1930’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, Sarsfields ladies were successful in the game of camogie. Then in the year 2000, a number of girls led by Eileen McAlinden encouraged the formation of a ladies football team. Interest grew rapidly with Martin McAlinden and Adrian Collins agreeing to coach the ladies.

Achievments: Joining the second Division of Armagh County League and Junior Championship the girls enjoyed their first competitive season in 2001 and were delighted that when only in their second year of existence reached the Junior Championship in 2002. As beginners Sarsfields are determined to perform better in future years and hope to introduce an underage side in the near future.

St.Colmcille’s- ‘Grange’

St.Colmcille’s ladies GFC, ‘Grange’ formed in 1989 and the girls quickly and enthusiastically learnt the rules under the instruction and guidance of coaches Kieran Cullen and Colm MacGabhann. Even though there was no official League structure in Armagh at this stage, we organised friendly matches against other new teams within the County and further a field. Teams such as Tullysaran, Maghery, Keady and from County Tyrone, Una Celts.

When the Armagh All County League formed in 1991, competition got a little more serious. Indeed it was not until four years later that ‘Grange’ won their first trophy, as the 1995 All County Division 2 winners. In 1996 the first experience of Championship football saw the team reach the Junior final where they were defeated by Clann Eireann of Lurgan. However the experience gained was fantastic and much was learned from it and put to good practice a few years later.

Around 1996, the mentors of St Colmcille’s and local neighbouring Tullysaran got together and entered an amalgamated team, St.Enda’s into an All County underage League and Championship. They proved to be a talented group of players and although they lost in a number of County Finals, many of the young players have progressed into the Senior panels of both clubs.

In between the ladies Senior team struggled both on and off the pitch but defiantly managed to keep the club and teams going. This defiance paid off in 2001. With many of the younger players now entering the Senior fray, allied to the experience of the regulars and a few new recruits, the ‘Double’ was achieved. St.Colmcille’s proudly won the All County Division Two and for the first time the Junior Championship. The battle for the Junior Championship title was a classic encounter against local sporting rivals Ballyhegan and took three games to separate the teams. Later in 2001 this team became the first from St.Colmcille’s, ‘Grange’ to enter an Ulster Club Championship. What a year!

Over the past decade a few of our players have been talented enough to wear the Armagh County jersey. At Senior level Paula Keegan, Kate Kelly, Nuala Kelly, Eileen McElmeel, Maura McKenna, Patricia Mallon (nee McArdle), Shauna Powell, Brenda Randell and Dervla Toal have all excelled. At underage level the graceful Kerri Curran, Danielle Murphy, Caroline Smyth and Eideen Toal have caught the eye. We are extremely proud of them all.

We would like to thank all our past managers and coaches, namely Kieran Cullen, Colm MacGabhann, Paul Mallon, Barry Mallon, Conor McElmeel, Peter Rafferty, Denis McArdle and ever present Paula Keegan. We would also like to thank all the companies who have provided sponsorship over the years and not least, thank the committee of St.Colmcille’s GFC for their continued support.

St. Michael’s Newtownhamilton

St. Michael’s Newtownhamilton had an U16 team late in 2002 and only played a few games.

They put up a good performance in the Championship against Killeavy and were only beaten by a couple of points.

Unfortunately as they are only a very small club it didn’t last the season-but ladies football had been introduced and it is hoped that it can be brought to a higher level in the future.

We have 15 clubs in Armagh at present, Ballyhegan, Carrickcruppen, Clann Eireann, Crossmaglen, Derrynoose, Dromintee, Eire Og, Grange, Killeavy, Lissummon, Mullaghbawn, Newtownhamilton, Sarsfields, Silverbridge and Tullysarran.

Carrickcruppen, Dromintee and Newtownhamilton only have underage teams

Lissummon only have a Senior Ladies team.

There were a few Amalgamations made over the years. They include:

Naomh Malachi- Carrickcruppen and Lissummon

High Moss Davitts- Sarsfields and Ballyhegan

St.Enda’s – Grange and Tullysarran (Minor and U16)

Saints- Dromintee and Killeavy

Roll Of Honour

U14

Championship League

1999 ~ Mullaghbawn Mullaghbawn

2000~ Dromintee Derrynoose

2001~ Clann Eireann Lurgan Clann Eireann Lurgan

2002~ Clann Eireann Clann Eireann

2003~ Armagh Harps Clann Eireann

2004~ Armagh Harps Armagh Harps

U16

1999~ Killeavy

2000~ Clann Eireann Clann Eireann

2001~ Carrickcruppen Clann Eireann

2002~ Carrickcruppen Derrynoose

2003~ Clann Eireann Clann Eireann

2004~ Crossmaglen

Minor Championship

2002~ Clann Eireann Lurgan

2003~ Clann Eireann Lurgan

2004~ Clann Eireann

Junior Championship League

2000~ Mullaghbawn Mullaghbawn

2001~ Grange Grange

2002~ Derrynoose Derrynoose

2003~ Mullaghbawn Mullaghbawn

2004~ Ballyhegan Tullysarron

Intermediate Championship League

1999~ Crossmaglen Tullysarron

2000~ Crossmaglen Killeavy

2001~ Crossmaglen Crossmaglen

2002~ Crossmaglen Clann Eireann

2003~ Clann Eireann Clann Eireann

2004~ Crossmaglen ClannEireann

U12 Competition Winners

2003~ Mullaghbawn 2004~ Dromintee

List of County Board Officers from 1992-2004

Chairman Vice Chairman Secretary Treasurer

Philip O’Hare Paula Keegan Dolores Teggart Debra McGivern

Larry Crilly Malachy Quigley Brian Meehan Shiela Duggan

Malachy Quigley Charlie Crilly Josie Crilly Paula Keegan

Brian Meehan Larry Quigley Sinead McCore Fr.Peter Clarke

Owen Reel Frank McDonnell Mary Keegan Paula Keegan

Fr.Peter Clarke

2005 Review

Armagh win by a whisker

Suzuki Ladies national Football League Division 2 final

Armagh 1-8 Donegal 1-7

Five sublime second half points from full forward Aileen Matthews helped guide Armagh to the Division 2 league title courtesy of a one-point win over Ulster rivals Donegal. The strong downfield wind had a crucial role to play in the action at St Loman’s Mullingar, as Donegal had led by 0-7 to 0-2 at the break having played with the with in the wind in their favour. Young stars Bridget Gallagher and Yvonne McMonagle fired over two points each to help ease Donegal in front while Armagh had only a point a piece from Geraldine Grimley and Patricia McEvoy as they struggled to come to terms with the adverse conditions.

Indeed they could have been much further behind had it not been for some wayward shooting by the Donegal attack, who missed 15 scoring opportunities in total over the hour.

In what proved to be a pulsating second half, Donegal could have extended their lead as three early chances went astray. The introduction of the returning Alma O’Donnell to the crucial midfield sector seemed to provide Armagh with the boost they needed as almost immediately they commenced their fight-back with a point from Patricia McEvoy. Donegal though were continuing to make and spurn chances of their own, as two goal-scoring opportunities went untaken. On a day when Stephen McDonnell was putting on a scoring exhibition for their male counterparts in Croke Park, his Kileavy club-mate Aileen Matthews was turning on the style herself in Mullingar as she put on a fantastic display of score-taking as she gave her marker Marie Devenney a torrid time. Donegal though continued to press and Armagh captain Denise Hagan in nets was forced to save smartly from Yvonne McMonagle, as the Glenfin attacker continued to be Donegal’s most potent forward players. Hagan’s opposite runner Charlene McHugh showed that she was equally as adept with a fine save from Patricia McEvoy to keep her side in front. There was little the Donegal net-minder could do though as Armagh found the back of the net in the 47th minute courtesy of Geraldine Grimley. The corner forward fielded well from a long ball in from midfield, where player of the match Caroline O’Hanlon was now pulling the strings for the Orchard girls before turning sharply and rifling her shot to the back of the net to put her side 1-6 to 0-7 ahead.

Donegal though responded in the best possible fashion as within a minute they had found the net themselves as captain Nadine Doherty led by example on the break to put her side back in control with a one point lead. However, this was this was to prove to be their last score of the game with five minutes left to play. The impressive Sharon Duncan then laid on a score for Matthews to level the game and a replay seemed very much on the cards as the clock ticked down.

Donegal’s chances of a comeback were dealt a blow as Diane Toner was sin binned for a foul on Geraldine Grimley and the Tir Chonnail girls were punished further as Matthews successfully converted the resultant free kick to put her side 1-8 to 1-7 in front.

Donegal continued to press but the equaliser proved elusive as McMonagle’s tame effort fell in to the arms of a relieved Hagan, as the Armagh captain and her defence held firm to ensure it was the net-minder who collected the silverware at the end of a truly exhilarating tie.

Teams and scorers:

Armagh:

Denise Hagan, Ailish Murphy, Fiona Quinn, Orla Murtagh, Nicola Smith, Sinead McCleary, Dearbhla Toal, Meabh Moriarty, Caroline O’Hanlon, Maighdin McAlinden, Sharon Dunan, Shauna O’Hagan, Geraldine Grimley (1-1), Aileen Matthews (0-5), Patricia McEvoy (0-2)

Susbs used: Alma O’Donnell for Meabh Moriarty

Bronagh O’Donnell for Ailish Murphy

Donegal:

Charlene McHugh, Aoife Hegarty, Maria Deveney, Caroline McGrory, Andrea McDaid, Diane Toner, Aoife McDonnell, Nora Stapleton, Debbie-Lee Fox, Kelly Lacey (0-1), Nadine Doherty (1-1), Sheila Campbell, Bridget Gallagher (0-2), Yvonne McMonagle (0-2), Ann Doherty (0-1)

Subs used: Niamh Hegarty for Ann Doherty

Michelle Doherty for Aoife McDonnell

Lorraine O’Sullivan for Niamh Hegarty

TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship Final

Glory for Armagh

Armagh 0-12 Sligo 0-9

The Orchard has ripened, as Armagh claimed the TG4 All Ireland Junior title, on their first appearance at Croke Park, when they overcome Sligo on the first Sunday in October.

Sligo had been there twelve months earlier and came back this year hoping to make up for that disappointing day. It looked good, as they matched the Armagh girls, stride after stride, in the opening 30 minutes that saw the teams level on 6 occasions.

However, after the interval the Connaught champions just had no answer, but saying that due to Armagh’s shooting, the game was still in the balance up until the hooter. The opening points of this year’s final came courtesy of Sligo full forward Noelle Gormley who was to go on and finish top scorer. The lead was short lived as two minutes later, Maighdlin McAlinden hit back at the other end. It went point for point, with Gormley hitting two for Sligo and Aileen Mathews, two for Armagh, to leave the sides at three apiece after 12 minutes.

Louise Brett slotted over a fine score, to edge the girls from the West back in front before Matthews, again cancelled it out, as each matched each other. Finally Sligo opened a slight advantage for the first time with two points from Helena Haran and Gormley (free). However, that was soon pegged back with Sharon Duncan and McAlinden trying matters again.

Therese Marren give Sligo the lead again with a fine score prior to Duncan at the other end to leave the sides going in at 0-7 a piece at the break.

Within seconds of the resumption, Armagh hit the front for the first time with Caroline O’Hanlon finishing a strong run. That lead was stretched to two when Mairead Tennyson struck. Yet that was to be the last score for almost twenty minutes of football.

Despite the lack of scores, we still had plenty of drama. Yet it must be said, most of that was the wastefulness of Armagh and surely the Armagh management must have been pulling their hair out seeing their chances going wide off the mark. Those missed chances were almost made pay for, with Sligo rattling the upright, on a rare attack but the Armagh defence were on hand to clear the danger.

Back at the other end, the Orchard County were to see what looked a good goal, blown for square ball, much to the amazement of Patricia McEvoy, who was on hand to flick the ball home.

Immediately at the other end, the girls from the Yeat’s county looked certain for goal when Stephanie O’Reilly broke, but over came Fiona Quinn to get in a wonder block, to save a certain major.

The eventual winners continued to go wide of the mark and in the second half alone, hit 19 off target. They finally added a further point from Duncan to open a three-point lead. The next score was possibly the score of the game, with player of the match O’Hanlon gain the provider to give Armagh a four point advantage. Seven minutes from time Sligo struck for their first score of the half with Gormley popping over a free.

While Sligo were still very much in a touch, Armagh were always the livelier side and it was their wastefulness that had the game remaining in the balance. The question now was, could Sligo make them pay for those missed opportunities.

That was answered with an insurance point from McAlinden with 3 minutes remaining leaving the Sligo side needing two scores. They could only find a way through for a point in the dying minutes from O’Reilly and Armagh hung on for a deserved victory.

The champions will now pit their wits against the senior sides next year, while for Sligo its back to the drawing boards and lift themselves again for another crack at the junior title.

Armagh:

Denise Hagan, Caoimhe Marley, Fiona Quinn, Orla Murtagh, Nicola Smith, Bronagh O’Donnell (capt), Sinead McCleary, Alma O’Donnell, Caroline O’Hanlon (0-2), Maebh Moriarty (0-1), Sharon Duncan (0-3), Mairead Tennyson, Magws McAlinden (0-3), Aileen Matthews (0-3,f), Patricia McEvoy.

Subs used: Shauna O’Hagan for A Matthews (43 minutes), Dervla Toal for N Smith (inj) (50 mins), Geraldine Grimley for S Duncan (56 mins), Ailish Murphy for O’Murtagh (58 mins).

Sligo:

Katrina Connolly, Ruth Goodwin, Grainne O’Gara, Fiona May, Cammie Kennedy, Angela Doohan, Louise Harte, Bernice Byrne, Sinead McTiernan, Etna Flanagan, Staphanie O’Reilly (0-1), Therese Marren (0-1), Helena Haran (0-1), Noelle Gormley (0-5,f, Louise Brett (0-1).

Subs used: Imelda McNulty for S McTiernan (38 mins), Siobhan O’Sullivan for E Flanagan (46 mins), Michelle McGovern for F Maye (inj) (48 mins), Louise Smith for L Brett (52 mins).

Referee: Derek Byrne (Limerick)

What they said

By Alan Gunn

“Fantastic, it will take a white to sink in, just bee a wonderful year and this caps it all off. The girls have put in such a big effort and they have their reward now. Our management is just out of this world and to see that support on the field after, just great for them, they have been behind all year”.

“The first half thee was nothing between us, It was point for point, Sligo always seem to just be able to get into the lead but we could come back. I was happy going in at the break and we re-grouped and in the second half we really too it to them, our defence was rock solid, midfield and forward line worked very hard and I know they missed scores, our forwards did great to keep their heads up and hit the important scores”.

The Armagh captain Bronagh O’Donnell was finding it hard to believe they had claimed the title after a fantastic year for the Orchard County

Quinn was born in Monaghan but never kicked a ball until moving to London and moved back to Armagh just last year, was in an ideal position at full back to see how the game unfolded. “They really put it up to us in the first half, I felt myself personally I was having no impact and not playing well in the first half, but our management sat us down and we go going for the second half, we dominated the second half but we could never pull away. I was just hoping for some breathing space and our forwards to put them over, we finally did get four clear, but they come back again and I remember looking up at the clock, with a minute or so to go, and turning around to Denise to say we must keep concentrated and thankfully we did”.

“Hard to take in just yet, just great for the management, all the players and our supporters that travelled in large numbers”.

Fiona Quinn who will be remembered for that wonderful block during the second half was also finding it hard to believe they had won it.

Clann Eireann – Armagh

Clann Eireann today dominate club football in Armagh at all levels accumulating a ‘double’ at senior level with the Championship and League titles, a feat that was also mirrored at Under 16 cementing their position as a club with a bright future ahead.

However, things weren’t always so easy for the club and it is only through the commitment and talent of women and men on and off the field that they even exist at all.

Ladies Gaelic Football was established in Lurgan just over a decade ago, in May 1993 with the formation of Noamh Mhuire. Offers of support from pitches to training facilities, to guidance, came in from all of Lurgan’s “men’s” GAA clubs – Clan na Gael, Clann Eireann, St Pauls and Eire Og.

However, despite initial success, the team gained a Junior Championship title in their first season – Naomh Mhuire found it difficult to compete without a regular training ground, as the heavy training schedules of local clubs meant facilities were increasingly difficult to obtain.

Nine Clann Eireann girls had formed the initial framework of the winning Naomh Mhuire team and this was recognised through a gesture by former Clann Eireann Chairman, the late Pat McMahon, when he suggested the club take the team under their umbrella. Thus in 1995 the team was re-created as Clann Eireann WGF, and entered into a new era with two women, Marie Hoye and Aideen Lavery at the helm.

The club initially faced difficulty in finding a full time manager and for a period this position was operated on a rota basis as local coaches helped out for one or two week sessions.

Finally Joe Harte took up the reins as full time manager to the team, with Mickey McMahon and Tommy Coleman as coaches. With a committed team in place, success again came as the girls gained a second Junior Championship title in three years.

Since then the team has participated in the Ulster 7 a side tournament, the All Ireland Junior 7s and a 9 a side competition in Manchester. The Manchester event was part of the city’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations. A further challenge for Clann Eireann was the Florida 7’s tournament in Fort Lauderdale in the USA – and the preparation for this was not solely training as the team embarked on a series of fundraising events to finance this expedition. Of these, the most memorable was the now infamous “Double D Under Wired Cup” contested between the ladies team and the Club’s over-40s men to a sell out crowd. Indeed this event not only helped the girls fund raising efforts, but also raised the profile of the game in the north Lurgan area.

These experiences have proved invaluable for the team, both in terms of developing new knowledge and skills and in building team spirit and relationships. Seven a side tournaments are of great importance to Clann Eireann, enabling players to test fitness and skills levels as well as mental stamina, as such days are highly challenging as well as exhausting. Their victory in the May Steel Memorial Tournament against hosts Castlewellan in 2003 underpins the club’s status as tough competitors in such events throughout Ulster.

The club is also well know for its training and development and now boasts teams at U10, U12, U14, and U16 level. The underage development structure in the club is strengthened by the fact that many senior players support it in a coaching capacity.

In recent years the youth teams have benefited from the inspiration of management Christine Hagan and Marie Hoye who guided the U14s to League and Championship victories in 2001 and 2002. The U16 team has seen similar success, winning the League and Championship double in 2003 in the style that characterises this club. Clann Eireann has also been successful at minor level, with the team taking home two minor championships.

Club football in Armagh has traditionally been dominated by Crossmaglen Rangers, as Clann Eireann found to their cost in 2000 – Cross’s grater experience overshadowed the eagerness of the Lurgan team in their first senior championship final. Crossmaglen again inflicted championship final defeats in 2001 and 2002, but each year Clann Eireann edged closer to victory.

In 2001, just a week after losing to Cros, Clann Eireann – motivated by manager Micky McMahon – captured the All Ireland Intermediate 7s. They followed this up by winning the Division 1 league title and were named Armagh Club of the Year, an accolade repeated in 2002.

Victory over Crossmaglen finally came at the semi final stages of the senior championship in 2003. The team went on to win the final against Killeavey, to gain their first senior championship title.

All of Clann Eireann’s success is based on a framework of committed players, coaches, management and supporters. In its short existence the club has found many leaders who have been both inspirational as well as motivational. Ladies football within the club depends on a small number of key people, however, one woman had led Clann Eirean through thick and thin, as a player, coach and now manager.

Once described as the pulse of the club, Marie Hoye’s devotion to the ladies football in Clann Eireann and football in general cannot be rewarded. Her leadership abilities are notorious as she prides herself in being the figurehead of ladies football in the most successful club in Armagh – but try getting her to admit this.

They say that from little acorns grow great oaks and for Clann Eireann Ladies Football, it is certainly true.

In the year 2005, in the wake of the historic breakthrough for Armagh ladies football, when the Junior All Ireland title came to the Orchard county where Clann Eireann contributed 6 players to that famous panel, and that little acorn took a growth beyond all expectations within the Lurgan ladies clubs, when they came good in the championship in Armagh, defeating last years champions Crossmaglen Rangers to lift the 2005 title. From there they continued to annihilate all before them in Ulster, where they defeated heavily Mullaghoran, Inniskeen, last years Ulster junior champions, and in the final at Clones Stadium, the saw of this writers club, Newtownbutler First Fermanaghs who were making a third attempt to lift the intermediate title in Ulster. However, the current power of the Armagh girls saw them make the short journey home again, empty handed, defeated on a score line of 5-11 to 1-10, copper-fasting Armagh’s new found supremacy over Fermanagh at ladies football. Clann Eireann progressed to meet the Leinster champions Clonguish of Longford who they defeated by 1-17 to 2-8 to put them bang head on to meet Kerry and Munster champions Abbeydorney in a further episode of Kerry v Armagh gaelic football contests.

A full report on that final will be included in this Armagh 2005 review, when the final is played.

Clann Eireann:

Denise Hagan, Ashleen McCrory, Avoureen Kearney, Aine Purdy, Laura Brown, Sinead McCleary, Rhona O’Mahony, Shauna O’Hagan, Meabh Moriarty, Grainne McAlinden, Maighdlin McAlinden, Victoria Hannon, Orla Donnelly, Maria Donnelly, Martina Hoye.

Subs: Sinead Leonard, Emma Maye, Zoe Skelton, Ciara McIlkenny, Eimear Hagan, Orlagh McConville, Sarah Bell, Fionnuala Beattty, Catherine McAlinden, Eimear Borwn.