All roads lead to Leitrim for Banner Ladies

All roads lead to Leitrim for Banner Ladies


Banner Ladies Football Club Press Release June 24th, 2007

All roads lead to Leitrim for the players and supporters of The
Banner Ladies Football Club of Ennis. For a phenomenal fifth year
in succession the Ennis club have qualified to represent Clare
at Féile Peil na nÓg. Playing in Division One of this blue riband
festival of underage football The banner go to these championships
as reigning All Ireland Féile champions Following on narrow Division
two final defeats in 2003 and 2004 (by a single point on each
occasion) the Banner went on to capture the secondary title in
2005 with a final victory over Portlaoise in Limerick. Better
was to come in Wicklow in 2006 when the banner elevated themselves
to the elite top table of national ladies club football when securing
a thrilling Féile Division One Championship with a great victory
over Galway champions Corofin. En route to this famous win The
Banner had defeated the reigning Division One champions Dublin
and the county champions of both Kerry and Wicklow. This was a
truly momentous day for Clare football and for the town of Ennis.

This year The Banner will carry the championship favourites tag
as they head north to Dromahair on Friday morning for an opening
game against their host club the Dromahair ladies. While this
recognition of the club’s status in the pecking order of ladies
is indeed an honour – it also brings its own pressures as the
current crop of players strive to emulate the feats of club teams
of previous years. The current squad (all thirty two panel members
travelling) have put months of intensive effort into their preparation
for this years championship. Training started last November for
this year’s championship and over forty full squad training sessions,
combined with numerous preparatory matches, have honed the team
for a major tilt at defending their All Ireland crown. Under the
watchful eyes of team mentors Joe Reidy, Padraic Dolan and Patricia
Ryan everything possible has been done to ensure the team are
in top shape going to Leitrim. Cautious optimism abounds within
the club as to the team’s chances in Féile 2007 and whatever the
outcome it will take a very good side to beat this determined
group of girls.

The Banner Ladies Panel

Fielding players such as Niamh O’Dea, Laurie Ryan, Niamh Walsh,
Megan Hough, Katie Cahill, Lauren Dooley and Rebecca Culligan
from last year’s winning team they won’t be short of big match
experience. When this year’s Clare U-14 county panellists Emma
Glynn, Aoife Martin, Ann Waters and Shauna Crowley are added to
the mix one can see why the club are hopeful of a good performance.
Indeed the club’s Niamh O’Dea will be creating Féile history as
she lines out for an unprecedented fifth year in a row at the
National Féile finals. This record will possibly never be equalled
and great credit is due to Niamh and the banner in this respect.
Football aside Féile is also about participation and fun and to
this effect the banner club organised a pre-Féile family fun day
and bar-b-q last Sunday. Following the team’s final preparatory
match, in which they defeated the Banner U-14 boys on a 3 – 5
to 2 – 6 score-line, both teams with their families and club players
from the U-10’s and U-12’s had a most enjoyable hour or two of
fun and food. Not even the odd shower could dampen the optimism
of the occasion. Well over one hundred club members attended.
It’s all system’s go now for Leitrim.

The Banner’s first game will be in Dromahair at 2.00pm on Friday.
Saturday sees an early start for the girls as they travel to Manorhamilton
for their second game which has a 9.30am throw in. At 12.30pm
their final group match will be against Ballylanders of Limerick.
To proceed the Banner will have to win all their first round games
and if they do they will face either the Cork or Kerry champions
at 5.30pm, again in Manorhamilton. Should they qualify the Division
One Ladies final is in Carrick-on-Shannon (Páírc Seán MacDiarmada)
at 3.45pm on Sunday. This game will be recorded for broadcast
by Setanta Sports TV Network. So best of luck to the Banner Braves
in their quest to bring another All Ireland title to Ennis and
to Clare.

Dr. Paul McKenna, Secretary/PRO, The Banner Ladies Football Club.


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