All the news from the O Neills Dublin Ladies Awards Night

Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, T.D. at the O’Neills Dublin Ladies GAA Football Gala Awards Night
The O’Neill’s Dublin Ladies Football Gala Awards Night was held in the 5-Star, Castleknock Hotel & Country Club. Guest of Honour was An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D. John Hillery, Chairperson of the Dublin County Board, Ladies Football welcomed the distinguished guests who included, Geraldine Giles, (President), Helen O’Rourke, (Chief Executive) and Bill Daly, (Leinster President)of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. Also in attendance was Gerry Harrington, Dublin GAA Co. Board Chairman. Representing the sponsors of the event was Tony Towell, Managing Director of O’Neill’s. Colin Teahon, Marketing Manager of Elverys Sports attended on behalf of the sponsors of the Dublin Senior Team. Pat Ring accepted an award on behalf of the victorious Dublin U-14 team who retained their crown as 2005 All-Ireland U-14 Champions. A

special surprise presentation was made to Joan Lyons, Dublin longest serving andmost dedicated supporter. A veteran of the Hill since 1942, Joan still attends all the Ladies juvenile and adult games at home and away. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday. Gerry Harrington, Dublin GAA Co. Board Chairman made the special presentation surrounded by the members of the Dublin Senior Ladies Football Team. Dermot Connolly accepted an award on behalf of Foxrock-Cabinteely who secured the 2005 All-Ireland Division 1, Feile Peil Na nOg title. Sinead Ahern (St. Sylvesters)received both the 2005 Dublin Senior “Player of the Year” award in addition to the “2005 Dublin Senior Player’s, Player of the Year” award. Aisling Farrelly (Ballyboden St. Enda’s) was the “2005 Dublin Junior Player of the Year” whilst Anne Clarke (Naomh Mearnog) was voted the “2005 Dublin Junior Player’s, Player of the Year”. Siobhan McGrath (Thomas Davis) was the “2005 Minor Player of the Year” whilst Karen Hudson (Fingallians) was voted the “2005 Minor Player’s, Player of the Year”.

Individual presentations were made to the club captains of Senior, Intermediate andall eight Junior Co. Finalists. The Captain, Aisling Farrelly accepted the trophy on behalf of Ballyboden St. Enda’s, back-to-back winners of the All-Ireland Senior Ladies Club Championship title. The Dublin Seniors received their Leinster Championship medals whilst the Dublin Junior Team received both their National League All-Irelandfinalists and Leinster Championship finalists medals. For the first time in 15 years the Dublin Minors, managed by John Hillery, received the Leinster Championship medals. And to finish on a high note, Dublin made a clean sweep with victories across the board this week-end. Dublin Seniors, under John Hillery, defeated Armagh in the Suzuki NFL on home turf in Westmanstown. Perhaps recent obituaries were somewhat premature! Dublin: 0-11; Armagh: 0-7.

Meanwhile, both the Dublin U-14’s and U-16’s recorded comprehensive victories over Laois, whilst the Dublin Juniors saw off the challenge from Meath’s Juniors. U-14: Dublin: (2-12); Laois: (1-4) U-16: Dublin: (1-28); Laois: (4-5) Junior: Dublin:(2-14); Meath: (2-3)

Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, T.D. at the O’Neills Dublin Ladies GAA Football Gala Awards Night at the Castleknock Hotel & County Club.

A dhaoine Uaisle, Cuireann sé an-áthas orm bheith i bhur láthair anocht chun an ócáid speisialta seo a cheiliúradh. Is iontach an ócáid í seo do Mhná Bhaile Átha Cliath!

It is my pleasure to be with you tonight at the O’Neill’s Dublin Ladies Football Annual Awards function here in the Castleknock Hotel & Country Club. I am pleased to celebrate with you the achievements of such talented and dedicated athletes who give of their commitment to Club and County. When invited by your County Board Chairperson, John Hillery, to present the Distinguished Service Award 2005, I was delighted to have this opportunity to recognise and publicly acclaim the outstanding contribution the recipient of this award has made to the promotion and increased public awareness of Ladies Gaelic Football. Her name is proudly associated with football, not only in her native Dublin, but internationally as well. To achieve prominence and acclamation in sport requires an athlete of outstanding qualities.

John Hillery, Chairperson – Dublin Ladies Football Board, All-Star, Angie McNally, recipient of the “O’Neill’s, Dublin Ladies Football “Distinguished Contribution Award” from An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D, at the O’Neill’s Annual Dublin Ladies Football Gala Awards Night in the Castleknock Hotel & Country Club

Public recognition of Ladies Gaelic Football has taken several years of real effort and promotion by dedicated enthusiasts within the game. Today, a thriving organisation exists, overseeing the fastest growing female sport ever. Following years of dedicated service to Dublin as an inter-county player, her efforts were justly rewarded. In 2003, Uachtarán Na hÉireann, Mary McAleese, presented her with her celebrated O’Neill’s / TG4 All-Star Award. By popular acclamation, she was a truly deserving recipient. And whilst the prospect of an All-Ireland senior title in 2003 eluded her by the narrowest of margins, and again in 2004, she has still got tremendous fulfilment from her playing career with Dublin.

Apart from her celebrated talents as an inter-county player, a distinguished All-Star, the recipient of four consecutive Leinster Senior Provincial medals, appearing in two consecutive TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Finals in Croke Park in 2003 and 2004, she is also an international athlete of renown in the sports of Soccer and Basketball. On all three fronts, she has brought success and distinction to Ireland. In what has been a truly remarkable sporting career spanning two decades, she has received no fewer than 50 caps for Ireland in Basketball and 24 caps for the Republic of Ireland in Soccer. Few athletes can claim such an accomplishment. A modest and unassuming personality, she was always willing to motivate and encourage younger players by her passion for Gaelic Football. In fact, it was her sisters who persuaded her to become involved in Ladies Football initially. Under this influence, coupled with the persuasive insistence of the then Dublin Manager, Alan Byrne, she became involved in Dublin Ladies Football – serving consecutively under Alan, Brendan Dardis, Willie Lillis, Mick Bohan and John O’Leary.

A post-primary school teacher by profession, she embarked on a four-year scholarship to Long Island University in New York City after having completed her formal education in Dublin. Her spare time is now devoted to coaching and instructing young athletes of the future in the skills and techniques of Ladies Gaelic Football. Her family background is immersed in the GAA, her brother also playing for the Dublin Seniors. On behalf of the Association and this evening’s sponsors, O’Neill’s, it is my honour and privilege as Taoiseach, in the presence of her parents, Maureen and Paddy, to present the 2005 O’Neill’s Dublin Ladies Football Distinguished Service Award to the legendary, Angie McNally.

Remarks by the Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, T.D. at the special presentation to Pat Ring I had the honour, last November, of celebrating the achievements of the Dublin Ladies GAA Academy and in particular celebrating the huge horde of silver that had been amassed by so many Dublin Ladies teams in 2005. That ceremony highlighted for me the immense strides that have been made in recent years in developing the talent and skill of our young ladies football players. The U-14s retained their All-Ireland title in fine style last year and I had the honour of honouring each player individually at the ceremony in Croke Park. Equally, the Dublin U-16’s and the Dublin Minors ensured that the full compliment of Leinster trophies was secured by Dublin. It was also good to see three U-12 teams being entered in the Leinster competitions for the first time. This will ensure that Ladies Football will continue to benefit from fresh talent and interest in the future.

John Hillery, Chairperson – Dublin Ladies Football Board, Pat Ring, Manager Dublin U-14 All-Ireland Champions 2005 receiving an award from An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D at the O’Neill’s Annual Dublin Ladies Football Gala Awards Night in the Castleknock Hotel & Country Club.

All of these developments point to the extraordinary work undertaken by the Dublin Ladies GAA Academy and Cumann Peil na mBan in promoting Ladies Gaelic Football in recent years. The Government is hugely supportive of that work and it is particularly satisfying to see it paying such dividends today. And, in recognition of one particular individual’s contribution to that work it gives me great pleasure to make a special presentation tonight to Pat Ring, Manager of the Dublin U-14 All-Ireland Championship winning team of 2005.

Under Pat’s expert guidance, the U-14s ensured a back-to-back All-Ireland victory, beating Donegal at the final hurdle last year. This was a real triumph for the team and a true reflection of Pat’s managerial skills in what is both a challenging and demanding role.

Comhghairdeachas leat Pat!

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