Stars past and present gather to celebrate 30 years of Tyrone Ladies Football

It was a case of picking up where they left off for some former greats of Tyrone Ladies Football last Friday night as outgoing Chairperson Donna McCrory hosted a night to celebrate 30 years of the sport in the county, at Cookstowns’s Glenavon Hotel.

The banter, craic, conversation and memories of three decades of football echoed throughout an evening that also highlighted the work done and still to be done in Tyrone Ladies Football.

Players from the first year of the county side in 1992 mingled with the current group of players who claimed the Ulster intermediate title this year, as well as players from throughout the years, with representatives from the majority of the clubs that now play football in the county present. The clubs on the night all received a special memento, sponsored by McAleer and Rushe, to mark their involvement in the sport.

LGFA President Michael Naughton and Ulster President Gerry Doherty were special guests on the night and both paid tribute to the work done by those who had the foresight to drive Tyrone on and indeed to those who now oversee the growth and development of the sport in the County.

In her address, Mrs McCrory praised the work done by the clubs: “Our clubs are the lifeblood of our association, we started with a handful and now boast 40. Without them we would not be here tonight, it is important we recognise those clubs, the people within them who kept the flag flying when Ladies Football wasn’t the popular sport it is.”

Continuing, Mrs McCrory also singled out the initial people behind football in the County:  “I pay tribute to our first executive who took those first brave strides to kick start Football, stood up to the naysayers and those who indeed felt that Ladies Football was a fad…..Our first county squad came from all corners of the county to represent Tyrone, they laid the foundations for the success that has followed and will continue to follow.” 

Many players from that first squad, and Tyrone players who had been named County player of the year since 1992, attended on the night. In a poignant moment, Mrs McCrory paid tribute to esteemed member of the County under 16 management, CODA member and County board representative from Omagh St Enda’s, Gertie McGuire, who passed away suddenly recently. She also remembered the Rafferty and McCaughey families at this sad time. 

Tyrone’s first official year of competition was 1992 but the roots of Ladies Football go back long before that and the outgoing Chair, in her last official duty, set out the stall for the incoming new executive. 

“It has taken everyone to get us to this point but we cannot rest on our laurels and as I step aside at the end of the year, I am confident that the work will continue,” said Mrs. McCrory. 

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