As in 2008, 2009 and 2010, we entered with the support of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association to the All-Ireland 7- a side Junior championship tournament.
In addition to our regular ladies’ Championships (the European and the Iberian football competitions), ladies from several European teams (Barcelona, Belgium, Stockholm, Holland, Munich, Estonia, Niort and Toulouse) played in the All-Ireland Junior 7 a-side tournament, held in Portmarnock, on the 24th September 2011. Two teams were entered ”Europe” and ”An Eoraip”. It was the fourth time that ladies from the European teams had the chance to travel to Ireland to take part in this tournament. In their last participation, in 2010, one team of the European squad managed to win two games; so the objectives for 2011 were, for both teams, to keep on improving the results obtained in 2010, if possible.
As in 2010, there were training sessions organized in the preceding months. European players trained together on the Sundays after the Barcelona, Munich, Maastricht and Belgium tournaments in order to prepare properly the tournament. There was also a training session in Dublin on the Friday before the tournament in Dublin. Thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment showed, the players soon built a great team spirit, establishing a close-knit group in a record time.
After all the preparation, the Saturday of the tournament came. The junior competition had 32 teams from all over Ireland and some from the UK.
The European squad was divided into two teams: Europe and An Eoraip. The Europe team, played in group 4 and was formed by Míde Ní Shuilleabhain (captain), Sinéad Fitzimons (vice-captain), Aisling Fenton, Grannie Ní Flatharta, Caoimhe Ní Shuilleabhain, Ciara Mulligan, Anna Fernlund, Anna Ronngard, Maria Brosnan, Emma O’Connor and Mònica Duran.
The An Eoraip team played in group no. 8 and was formed by Anna Bates (captain), Lauren McLaughlin (vice captain), Silvia Sanz, Siret Surva, Auricka Mannick, Mary McPherson, Catherine Smith, Jenny Samuels, Tracy Power and Sarah Graham.
The management team was formed by: Shane McDonnell (Europe team coach), Tony Bass and Michael Cryan (coaches of the An Eoraip team).
Europe ladies lost their first group match to Thomas Davis of Dublin (who subsequently went on to win each other match to win the junior championship final). Europe beat Milford (Donegal), and Midleton (Cork) in their group games to qualify to play in the shield. For the first time ever one European team qualified to play the quarter finals!!!
In the quarter final they met table toppers from ”An Eoraip’s” group - Strabane Sigersons (Tyrone). Keen to avenge the defeat of “An Eoraip” by Strabane, the Europe won by a goal and 5 points to qualify for a semi final against St Peregrines (Dublin).
In the semi final against St Peregrines (Dublin), Europe won magnificently and beat St. Peregrine’s 1-09 v 3-07 Europe. Europe then qualified to play the final to Banteer (Cork) last year’s Cork county U-21 champions.
Banteer scored the opening 3 points which were immediately replied to by the Europeans. The final was very fast and both teams had several scoring opportunities. However Banteer got their purple patch and took advantage of it, opening up a decent lead.
The Europeans, spurred on by the fact they we playing in their first All-Ireland final, tried to reduce the gap by giving 120%.
It was not to be, Europe lost the final to Banteer. The feeling of the players was a mixture of sadness and happiness. Sadness for not winning the final and happiness of having reached it. As it was their first time ever after 4 years of participation. Europe will be back next year and hoping to leave with a trophy!!!
It must be said that all the players representing Europe did their best in every match played and truly proved that ladies Gaelic football is thriving in Europe.
Here are the results of the Europe team:
Thomas Davis 3-11 v Europe 0-4
Europe v Milford (no results). Will confirm with the LGFA.
Europe 6-6 v Midleton 4-2
Junior Shield Quarter Finals
3.00 p.m. (Q/F 4) Runners Up Group 4 v Runners Up Group 8
Europe 4-8 v Strabane Sigersons 3-3
Junior Shield Semi Finals
4.00 p.m. (S/F 2) Runners Up Q/F 3 v Winners Q/F 4
St Peregrines 1-9 v Europe 3-7
Junior Shield Final
Banteer 1-15 v Europe 0-6
Strabane Sigersons 6-7 v An Eoraip 0-1
An Eoraip 0-1 v Glanmire 3-8
Ranelagh Gaels 3-2 v An Eoraip 1-4
St Bride’s 2-9 v An Eoraip 2-3
During their free time on the sevens weekend, the European players got the opportunity on the Friday morning to take the Croke Park tour and attend on the Sunday the All-Ireland Ladies Gaelic Football Championship Finals at Croke Park and to the replays thanks to the kindness of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. Europe were delighted that their performance in the sevens was included in the president’s address for the replays programme.
European Ladies Officer 2011 email@example.com