Down Ladies fixtures/Round-up and preview w/c Aug 31st

Down Ladies fixtures/Round-up and preview w/c Aug 31st

Junior Final:

Mayobridge won the County Junior Championship in Downpatrick against a very determined Aughlisnafin side. The East Down side got off to a great start firing over the first point of the game to shock a hotly fancied Mayobridge side into gear. Once the sky-blue machine got rolling they never looked back and they entered the changing rooms at half-time 3-07 to 1-01 up with the Fin goaling just before the interval. Aughlisnafin started the second half with some real grit and determination and they camped for long periods in the Mayobridge half but couldn’t get the scores that their efforts deserved. They managed to keep Mayobridge scoreless for 13 minutes but they were eventually outscored 1-03 to 0-01 to leave Mayobridge celebrating their first ever County title at this level on a score of 4-10 to 1-02. Mayobridge now march on into Ulster and are very worthy champions who will represent Down with great pride. Aughlisnafin will reflect on the game and will be disappointed but they can be very proud especially of their second half performance and the 3 or 4 great goal mouth scrambles that kept the large crowd enthralled to the final whistle. Best for the Bridge were Martina McConville, Kate Kane, Roisin O’Hare, Jordan Magee, Courteney Linden, Marian Coulter, Charlene Lively and Harley Linden. Aughlisnafin were well represented by Corinne Flanagan, Meghan Flanagan, Carissa Hall, Kate McComiskey and Sileen McDonald.

Championship Preview
Team Pics (supplied by the clubs) are attached for Bredagh, Saval and Bright. Kilcoo didn’t have a current picture available.

This weekend will see the completion of the adult championships with the ‘Century Electrical Wholesale’ Senior and ‘Ground Coffee Sandwich Bars’ Intermediate Finals.

The Senior Final between Bredagh and Saval is likely to be a very open encounter. Bredagh are past winners and were beaten finalists in 2008 and they will be keen to take the next step in their development by clinching the County title. Looking to the previous rounds they had little difficulty disposing of Bryansford in the Q/F’s and in the semi’s they had a good win over neighbours Carryduff without really having to stretch themselves. The league form has been much the same. They sit proudly at the summit of the Senior league just a few games away from clinching the title. With the exception of an early season blip v Bryansford they have maximum points and very few teams have managed to stay the distance with them. Saval had a convincing Q/F win over Rostrevor who they managed to keep scoreless through sixty minutes of football and in their semi-final against Clonduff it took an injury time goal to force extra time. They really came into their own and their superior fitness and determination saw them safely across the finish line. Their league form has been a bit sporadic and they currently sit in 4th place and out of contention for league honours. They haven’t yet met in the league due to an earlier round game being postponed due to the success of the County team so their is no comparison in terms of form against each other. So who will win? Bredagh are undoubtedly the favourites and they are likely to be the team celebrating at the long whistle. The core of their team is very strong especially the diamond around midfield which is sure to win a lot of ball upon which they will attack relentlessly in droves. Saval will need to find a way of breaking up or at least hampering the Belles likely dominance in this sector. If they can stop clean possessions and prevent the early ball in then they will have a great chance of causing an upset. Saval are a very good side, they have a nice blend of youth and experience on their team and they will run themselves into the ground for each other. It will take this and then some if they want to wrangle the title from the grasp of the Belles. Bredagh will look to Jenny Agnew, Geraldine Campbell, and Victoria Mallett for inspiration on the day. Saval will need big performances from Lynsey Cunningham, Lorraine Havern, Niamh Lennon and Aine Crozier if they are to win their first ever Senior County title.

The Intermediate final will see Kilcoo and Bright clash in what is anticipated to be an absolute thriller. Kilcoo beaten finalists in 2008 know the pain of nearly making it but just falling short. They won’t want to experience that feeling again in 2009. Looking to the Q/F, kilcoo were pushed all the way by a resolute Shamrocks outfit before running out convincing winners in the last quarter of the game. In the semi’s they had a big win over a hotly fancied Ballymartin team in a very cagey game to secure their place in this showpiece event. It doesn’t really matter how you get to the final, its the getting their that counts. Bright had a more difficult path to the final. They needed a replay plus extra time to overcome a very determined Burren. In the semi-final they put in a very disciplined performance to see off Bredagh seconds and they now find themselves in the final again with their last appearance being in 2003 where they lost a classic encounter against Downpatrick. Looking to the league for form both teams are sitting in the top four with practically the same record. They haven’t yet met this season due to the County team successes so again we have no bragging rights going into the Final. So who will win? Kilcoo will probably start as slight favourites due to their recent form and the fact that they have been playing regularly as they look to close out some outstanding league games. They like Bright are a relatively young side, very pacy and direct in their style of play. Bright will wonder if lady luck is on their side as they look back at their victory over Burren in the Q/F and the fact they needed a replay and extra time to get this far. Championship football is a funny old beast and teams and managers will look at all manner of indicators no matter how imaginary if it will eventually lead to the conclusion that their name is on the cup this year. Bright certainly have their indicators and Kilcoo rode their luck at times v Ballymartin so both camps will believe its their year but the reality is that one team will advance over the other. I fully expect this game to ebb and flow from end to end. Both sides will attack with gusto and are capable of knocking up big scores along the way. It will be the team that can defend the best that will win this encounter. I wouldn’t rule out a period of extra time to sort this one out but one thing is for sure this is a game not to be missed. Bright will look for leadership from captain Siobhan Burke, Roisin Torney, Angela and Francis O’Connor, Chrissie Quinn and Natasha Lavery. Kilcoo will need big performances from Kylie and Leon Doherty, Catriona Devlin, Chara Laverty and Ionagh McEvoy

In the run up to the final, the four clubs involved have provided some interesting facts that make some great reading.


The Bredagh Belles have been in existence for 15 years, since the first official ball was kicked in County Down.The Belfast side has fielded 2 senior ladies teams over the last 5 years with the second team helping to facilitate the ever growing youth structure which Bredagh rightly boast about. The Club have ladies teams and players stretching from age 6 right up to the senior ranks.

The belles have over 50 girls registered who play football with the Club, to enable the fielding of two senior teams. Perhaps one of the most pleasing aspects of their achievement is that the Belles have found a balance between youth and experience.
From the original senior panel (of 15 years ago) there is only one original Bredagh Belle Siobhán McCarney who still plays with in senior team. Other club stalwarts Fionnula McAtamney and Jacqui Clarke who have been the backbone of the team since its foundation have been joined by the new Bredagh generation who has grown up in the club. Home grown talent such as sisters Polly & Cassie Moane, sisters Enya & Niamh McCafferty, Hannah Murray, Claire Byrne, Emma Mulhern, Kerry O’Neill and the future senior goal keeper Eimer Murtagh. These girls have progressed through the underage structures of Bredagh and all play a pivotal roll within the senior team. The rest of the senior panel is made up from girls who have now set up home in south Belfast, such as Tyrone midfielder Enda McGinley’s wife Geardine and her sister Mary McCann who are also the sisters of Thomas and Michael current Antrim County players; it’s in the breed you could say!

It’s theirs and the other girl’s efforts and skills that have benefited the club immensely, as they play with such team spirit that an outsider would assume the whole team had played together since underage. There is a strong bond within Bredagh ladies which is made up through friendship and family. With 3 sets of sisters, a sister in law and a cousin or two in there you can bet your bottom dollar that the support for each other is brilliant and of course the rivalry even better!
The senior belles have had mixed fortunes over the years, you could even go as far to say they have underachieved by a country mile!! The senior team has only secured two senior league titles and one senior championship in 2002 since their formation 15 years ago….many times a bridesmaid and only once the bride!
The Bredagh Belles have great aspirations, having appeared and underperformed in the championship final of 2008 the girls hope to put this wrong right in 2009 however a strong and talented Saval side stand in the way and the Belles know that they will have to be at their best to overcome this hurdle and claim the County title.
The management team is made up of Colm Joyce (current Bredagh senior player) and stalwarts Lorraine McCaffery (lynchpin of the Bredagh forward line for a number of years) & Nell O’Neill who have combined their significant managerial experience to provide the Bredagh side with the leadership and direction required to reach the Championship final.
Of course it isn’t just the management that deserves the credit for this seasons performances – the team itself has been fully committed in all aspects of the game this year, from attendance at training sessions to personal work (and even a bit of psychology!) all the while maintaining the necessary positive attitude throughout. The hard work done on pre-season fitness training is evident in all the Bredagh Belles’ games and their league position is testament to their consistency.

The Bredagh Belles have been buoyed by the support from the entire Bredagh club. They are grateful for this support and would encourage all club members to consider making the trip to vocally cheer on the girls. If they can focus all their efforts, energy and skills, they will provide what promises to be a classic Down ladies final, the Bredagh pretenders against new challengers Saval. Let’s hope the cup journeys north to Belfast on Sunday 6th September!


History of Saval Ladies:
Saval Ladies reformed in 2003 lining out underage teams at Under-12 and Under-14 level. That year, the Under-14 team won the first of their four-in-a-row league titles and was runners-up in the All Ireland Feile. Saval then entered a team in the Junior league in 2004 and finished 3rd in the league. They went better the next year when they were promoted to the Intermediate league and won the Junior Championship Final. 2006 was another successful year when the team won the Intermediate league and was promoted again into Senior level. Saval finished the Senior league in third spot in 2007 and fell at the quarter final stage of the Championship, and had a mirror image season last year with the same standing. They have already made history by reaching the Senior Championship Final for the first time, and are hoping to continue to make history by winning the Down Championship.

The team has a mix of youth and experience with several of the girls part of the successful Under-14 teams when Saval first started. They have played together through Under-16 league and championship successes adding double Minor County titles in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, four girls won Ulster medals while playing for Down while we had seven representatives on the Down Under-16 team who won the All-Ireland ‘B’ Championship. Saval also has several previous Senior Down players including Michelle Kearney (nee Fearon) who won an All-Ireland Medal in the 2000 Junior Championship. Niamh Lennon and Lynsey Cunningham represented the County team this year winning the Division Two National Title.

John McCarthy, Damien Lennon, Ciara Coffey

Other Achievements:
Several of the team have played University college football with Emma Madine and Lynsey Cunningham most successful winning the Dowd Cup with Queen’s University two years ago. At school level, Saval had eight girls on the St Mary’s High School team who won the Under-16 All-Ireland ‘B’ College Final in 2007/2008 season and in 2008/2009, the same girls won the Under-16 and Under-20 Ulster ‘A’ titles. Two of our girls have also been very successful at Handball with Anna Madine winning Ulster titles and Lorraine Havern who has no less than three individual All-Ireland titles and is current Champion at Minor singles level and Under-19 college level.

There are several family connections on the team with sisters Niamh and Colleen Lennon daughters of Club Chairman, Edmond Lennon. Meanwhile four Lively sisters are on the panel – Edel, Joanne, Fiona and Therese. Goalkeeper Christine McCarthy and forward Natashya Lennon are daughters of managers John and Damien respectively. Names like Digney, Sands, Cunningham are traditional names in Saval that can be traced back to the successful Senior Men’s teams over the years.


Get to Know Bright Ladies

Bright Ladies were first formed in 1997 under the management of Ollie Burke and their home venue was the Council pitch in Killough. They have continued to blossom since their formation under the current management of John Fitzsimons, Paul Sharvin and Martin Ranaghan.

Since our entry to the league the majority of our time has been played in the intermediate section. We reached the championship final in 2003 and lost narrowly to Downpatrick. We are presently in a strong league position and are competing in our second championship final where we hope to go one better this time round.

At the moment we have a blend of youth and experience with our youngest player being thirteen. The ladies section gives all girls of the parish an opportunity to compete in Gaelic games.

We hope that future development of the ladies game will prosper in our excellent facilities in Ballynoe.

Bright snippets

Angela O’Connor was a member of the Down Ladies All Ireland winning team in 2000.

Roisin Torney – All Ireland medal winner with Down U16’s in 2006 and captained Down Minor team in 2008/9.

Family Connections

There are currently five sets of siblings made of Angela and Francis O’Connor, Siobhan, Elaine and Chrissie Quinn, Michelle and Natasha Lavery together with Therese McCartan, Aimee and Katie Tumelty and Louise and Catherine Farrand. Another family connection is that Rachel Ranaghan is the daughter of Marty, one of the management team.


The team was formed in 2006 by Conor Laverty & Gary McEvoy, over the years a number of the girls had been playing football for neighbouring clubs namely Castlewellan, Clonduff & Bryansford. They started to play competitive games in the Junior league in 2007, that year they reached the Championship final but got beat by Rostrevor. They moved into the Intermediate league in 2008 reaching the championship final, but once again were runners up following a defeat by Carryduff. This year they have started of slowly in the league but the team has been building up steadily to the Championship Final.

Family Connections
Catriona Devlin: Sister of Paul Devlin – played for Down Minors & Under 21’s / St Malachy’s – 3 All-Ireland’s. Father Sean Devlin – played for Down over 40’s in 2008
Laura Morgan: Father Ned Morgan – referee
Chara & Kerry Laverty: Sisters of Conor Laverty – played for Down U21’s & Senior & Cillian Laverty – played St Malachy’s All Ireland & Feile
Saoirse O’Hanlon: Sister of Darragh O’Hanlon – Present County Minor / played for St Malachy’s All Ireland & Feile
Ionagh McEvoy: Sister of Niall McEvoy – played for Down U21’s & Gerardie played Down minor & U21 and is the currently the captain of Kilcoo Senior team
Aoife O’Hanlon: Daughter of Seamus O’Hanlon – Referee
Noreen Brogan: Niece of Dominic Brogan – Referee

5 sets of sisters: Chara & Kerry Laverty. Carly & Kathy McClean. Fiona & Elaine McNeill. Tierna & Caitlin Carlin. Kylie & Leon Doherty
2 sets of Cousins: Ionagh McEvoy / Roisin McGreevey / Aoife O’Hanlon / Marcella McEvoy / Tierna & Caitlin Carlin and Laura Morgan / Kylie & Leon Doherty
Deirdre McEvoy is a niece of the team’s manager Paddy McCrickard

As a team these girls have worked extremely hard all season, they know only to well how it feels to be beat in the Championship final and they don’t want to experience that this year. They wish to maintain the bond that has been built over the last 4 years, so as Ladies football in Kilcoo can continue to grow and improve in the years to come.

Interesting Facts
Caroline O’Hare one of the team selectors is the daughter of former County Selector Johnny McCumiskey, he was involved with the Senior County team along with Paddy O’Rourke. Johnny is presently the manager of Ballymartin and has been involved with various teams within the county. Her Husband Kieran also played for the Down Minors & Under 21’s. Caroline also holds Junior & Intermediate Champion & League metals with Clonduff. Aoife O’Hanlon our Goalkeeper is following in the footsteps of her father Seamus – he was Kilcoos Senior & seconds goalkeeper for a number of years.


Sat 5th Sept

U-14C Championship 11:30 am
Loughinisland v Burren

Senior @ 6:45pm
Rostrevor V Castlewellan
Bryansford v Clonduff

Intermediate @ 6:45pm
Bredagh v Burren
Shamrocks v Ballymartin

Junior @ 6:45pm
Clonduff v Mayobridge
St Michaels v Aughlisnafin

Sun 6th Sept @ 12:30pm
U-16 Championship
Downpatrick v Bredagh
Ballymartin v Carryduff
Bryansford v Bosco
Teconnaught v Burren
Rostrevor/Bright v Saval
Shamrocks v Carryduff B
Annaclone v Clonduff
Saul v Castlewellan

‘Ground Coffee Sandwich Bars’
Intermediate Championship Final @ 5:00pm
Venue: TBC
Kilcoo v Bright (P. McDaid)

‘Century Electrical Wholesale’
Senior Championship Final @ 6:30pm
Venue: TBC
Saval v Bredagh (G. Corrigan)

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