Over 250 girls, ranging in ages between 9 to 16 years of age and representing 12 ladies football clubs across Britain participated in a fun filled day of ladies Gaelic football in sun soaked Greenford, London on Saturday at the All Britain Championships Games (ABC’s). The 22 teams from these clubs played at Under 12, 14 and 16 level and this was yet another increase in participation for the year with the numbers involved in the girls section growing annually.
The games started on Thursday with Primary School Competitions and there were girls involved on the mixed school teams travelling from all over Britain. Friday then seen the turn of the Post Primary Schools and for the first time there were three girls schools participating – St Joan of Arc, Sion Manning and Cardinal Wiseman. The majority of these girls are not involved in any clubs and it was inspiring to see the progress of all players from the start to the end of the day. The clubs Go Games teams took over the venue for Friday afternoon through to evening with many girls involved in these teams and it really is an amazing sight to see so many kids playing at the same time over pitches as far as the eye could see on a sunny afternoon.
Temperatures rose again on Saturday and with the good weather came the crowds. The Under 14 competition started the day for the ladies football section over three pitches and it was St Colmcille’s from Hertfordshire that came to the top in the end beating an excellent John Mitchell’s from Liverpool in the final. At 1.30pm it was the turn of the Under 16’s to take the pitch closely followed by Under 12’s at 2pm. The Under 16’s tournament showcased some of the best skills of the game and yet again St Colmcille’s proved too strong for everyone involved overcoming a gallant effort from Tara, London in the final. This was a prodigious achievement for such a young club to win the double on the day.
The Under 12 Tournament was non-competitive and started with a fun group warm up for all teams which really set the tone for the day. There were two clubs involved at this age grade last year which expanded to 7 teams this year demonstrating the exponential growth taking place across Britain at underage level. Despite the heat these young girls played their hearts out and the excitement of players, coaches and their supporters could be heard around the pitches.
All players involved on the day received a special LGFA goody bag to recognise their efforts throughout the tournament but also over the last number of weeks for those clubs involved in our Gaelic4Girls programme. The Brendan Martin Cup was also on hand for the many kids present to take a picture and dream of one day lifting the same cup in Croke Park.
We would like to thank Britain GAA, especially the CDA’s, for their excellent organisation once again and also our own British council and the Britain County Boards for their promotion and assistance over the weekend. Finally many thanks to our ABC Co-ordinator in London, Colleen Lynott, who worked tirelessly both in the run up to and throughout the weekend. Colleen ensured that all teams were in place but equally as important that we had volunteers present to ensure that all players could enjoy a very well organised event.
From what was witnessed at the recent ABC Games, it seems ladies football is continuing to grow throughout Britain!
|Under 16 Teams|
|Claddagh Gaels, Hertfordshire|
|Tir Chonaill Gaels, London|
|St Clarets, London|
|St Colmcilles, Hertfordshire|
|Under 14 Teams|
|Parnells, London||Tir Chonaill Gaels, London|
|St Colmcilles, Hertfordshire||Sean McDermotts, Warwickshire|
|John Mitchells 1, Warwickshire||John Mitchells 2, Warwickshire|
|Tara, London||John Mitchell’s, Lancashire|
|Claddagh Gaels, Hertfordshire 1||Claddagh Gaels, Hertfordshire 2|
|Under 12 Teams|
|Parnells, London 1|
|St Joseph’s Swansea, Gloucestershire|
|Gaeil London, London|
|Tir Chonaill Gaels, London|
|St Kiernan’s, London|
|Parnells, London 2|