PREVIEWS: 10 Divisions of Ladies Football action as 2019 John West Féile Peil na nÓg gets underway

With 358 teams taking part in over 100 venues, and the best part of 10,000 young athletes taking part, it’s an event like very few others.

This evening, John West Féil Peil na nÓg will get underway all over Connacht and the vast majority of small communities in the West of Ireland are working hard to make sure that they put their best foot forward over the next three days, to ensure that families and footballers descending into their parishes and homes come away with memories that will last a lifetime.

“It’s like a bigger version of when you would have hosted the station” was how one member of the St. Ciarán’s club in Roscommon described it, referring to that uniquely Irish tradition of opening up your home (and usually dusting down the crystal glasses and the fine china as well) to your neighbours for mass in the home.

You can check out the official programme for the weekend, including all fixtures, by clicking on this LINK. 

The same volunteer was busy making trays of sandwiches for the visiting Éire Óg club in Carlow, preparing to break bread in the aftermath of their Division 8 clash on Sunday morning.

In total there will be ten divisions of ladies football action over the weekend, representing the biggest culture shift in the history of Féile.

Where once it was a celebration of elite players, with only the very best in every county getting to take part, now it takes in a much wider range of clubs, with space also there for visiting sides from across the Irish Sea and even the far side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Hertfordshire and Lancashire will travel from Britain, as will last year’s Division 6 Shield winners London, while Delco Gaels (Philadelphia), Boston and New York will make the trip from the United States.

New York will travel with a formidable reputation, after competing in three of the last four Division Two cup finals, their sole victory coming in the 2015 final against Mungret St. Paul’s of Limerick.

Of course there will still be considerable focus on the elite talents in Division One, where reigning champions Éire Óg (Cork) will be hosted by Claregalway, and Westport – they side they beat in last year’s final – will host Lurgan of Cavan, a county that has made huge strides forward in underage LGFA games and is starting to see that bear fruit at adult level. Lurgan will carry the honour of being the only Ulster club to play in Division One this year.

Southern Gaels of Kerry, traditional Galway powerhouses Kilkerrin-Clonberne and Kilkenny City will also be expected to compete fiercely for honours, the presence of the Kilkenny girls proof that there is footballing talent everywhere, if those players are given the chance to maximise their gifts.

All down the divisions, there are intriguing match ups that fascinate on so many levels. How will the girls of London find life in rural North Galway when they travel to St. Mary’s of Killererin? Last year Meath clubs had a very successful weekend on home soil with Walterstown, St. Mary’s (Donore) and Trim all picking up silverware, will they be able to repeat that this year, or will one of the Connacht counties come to the fore? Galway and Mayo have been the dominant forces at senior level but Roscommon have been a coming force at underage level, and they have ten clubs involved this week, with Roscommon Gaels fielding two teams. Four of Leitrim’s five clubs will take part in Division 7, perhaps one of their clubs can follow in the footsteps of Glencar-Manorhamilton (2016) and Dromahair (2014) who are already on the Roll of Honour?

What is for sure is that all across Connacht this weekend, the fields will be teeming with activity as thousands of young players represent their clubs, their counties and themselves with honour. It’ll be entertaining, it’ll be exciting, it’ll be joyful – it’ll be the real sound of the Irish Summer.

Check out this brilliant selection of tweets as our clubs and players look forward to the weekend: 


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