2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets




Ladies football in Down was formed in April ’94. In January that year the president of the G.A.A. Jack Boothman attended the Down Men’s Convention and in his 30-minute speech to the delegates he asked that every County should have a Ladies Gaelic Football competition. Shortly afterwards all interested clubs in the County were called to a meeting in the Downshire Arms Hotel in Hilltown. A further meeting was held in Annaclone. A County Board was formed to run a Senior League and Championship, Feis, Seven’s and U-16 Championship. Five teams took part in 1994, Annaclone, Bredagh, Iveagh, Kilclief and Tullyish.

A County team was set up in July 1995. Dromara man Seamus Branniff was appointed as County Manager. A series of trials were held. A panel of players were drawn up. The County team’s first outing was in the All-Ireland B Championship, 8th October 1995 with the team making the long journey to face Galway in Invirin. Although losing to the more experienced Westeners by 6-17 to 2-04 Down gained valuable experience and then opted to enter a team in the National League.

This was Down’s first venture into the National Junior League where they met more experienced sides such as: Armagh, Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim and Tyrone. Down tasted victory for the first time 19/5/96 against Fermanagh by 4-03 to 3-05 at Saval, Co. Down. Down lost out to Tyrone in the Ulster Junior Championship at Glenn, Co. Down in June ’96.

The 1996 All-Ireland B Championship campaign began with a two-point victory at home to Leitrim, while in the quarter final Down defeated Cavan at Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. Wicklow were Down’s next opponents in the Semi-final. The Red and Blacks rising to the occasion with a five-point victory at Newry. Down played Longford in the All-Ireland B Championship final at Scotstown, Co. Monaghan on the 30th November 1996. Down lost out to Longford on a score line 3-14 to 0-06. Down had arrived onto the Ladies Football map in a very short time in existence.


Down continued to progress with good performances in the National League in the ’97 season by qualifying for the Junior League Quarter Final but lost out to Limerick by one point. Down’s first ever piece of silverware came in the Ulster B Championship with a 0-12 to 0-05 win over Fermanagh in Clones to collect the Trudy Kearns Cup. The ’98 season also saw Down qualify for the Junior National League Quarter Final where again they lost to Wicklow by a solitary point. Down’s Ulster Championship began with a win over Fermanagh in Irvinestown.

Down played Derry in Newcastle and had five points to spare to gain an historic first ever appearance against red-hot favourites Tyrone. Down were apparently making up the numbers in the final. The Down team had other ideas. Trailing 1-07 to 0-03 at half time, Down came out in the second half like a team possessed and dominated the second half and narrowed the score to just one point with two minutes remaining. Tyrone held on to win on a score line 1-12 to 0-09. Later on in November 1998 Down retained the Ulster B Championship title with a five-point victory over Derry in Ballykinler.

Down again qualified out of Division Three North to play Cork in the Quarter Final. Cork beat Down by 7 points. Down’s next obstacle was an away game in the Ulster Junior Championship against Donegal in Donegal town on the 18/7/99. Down came away with a four-point victory to set up another clash against Tyrone. The Ulster final at Clones was a one sided game with the experienced Tyrone team winning on a score line 3-23 to 1-04.

Down finished top of Division 3 North in the year 2000, but lost out to Leitrim by five points in the Quarter Final in Carrick-on-Shannon.


It has been a superb year for the Down Ladies senior football team. Historic first wins to lift the Ulster title was surpassed by annexing the All-Ireland junior title with a memorable final victory over Galway.

It all started twelve months ago with a 9-9 to 3-4 victory over Derry in the NFL. That win was followed by victories over Cavan, Fermanagh, Armagh and Donegal as they finished unbeaten at the top of their section. In the quarter final they tasted their first and only defeat of the year when they lost to eventual league winners Leitrim by 2-14 to 3-6 in the quarter final.

All efforts were now turned to the Ulster JFC. Fermanagh provided the first hurdle at Aghadrumsee. A 3-12 to 0-10 win signalled the start of a Down unbeaten run. Cavan provided the semi-final opposition. This game in Drungath proved to be a real thriller. It took extra time before Down won by 0-12 to 1-8. Donegal in the Ulster final beckoned.

Once again the famous red and black flags proudly flew in St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones on July 30. But this time it was the ladies from the Mournes who were proudly wearing the famous colours. Bitter memories of previous final defeats by Tyrone were erased as the girls from Down blazed a new historic trail.

Donegal made the better start with a goal from Denise Dunnion. Lisa Morgan and Martina McCafferty had Down points. Then the Mourne girls suffered another hammer blow when Dunnion shot a second Donegal goal. Again Down responded in style with two points each from Michaela Downey and Joanne Lavery to leave halt time Donegal 2-1, Down 0-6.

Twice points were exchanged before Lisa Morgan levelled from a free. Down took control in the final quarter. Michaela Downey pointed. When Martina McCafferty put Lisa Morgan through for a goal the Hugh Meehan Cup was on its way to the Mournes for the first time held high by team captain Jacqui Clarke.

Down scorers: Lisa Morgan (1-2), Michaela Downey (0-4), Joanne Lavery (0-2), Martina McCafferty (0-1), Michelle Fearon (0-1).

The semi-final saw Down having to travel to New York to play the home side. This too was an historic occasion the first game played outside Ireland. First however £25,000 had to be secured to finance the trip. That was done in the five period between the games by the team panel and helpers. They combined their training under Michelle Clancy with their fund raising.

The semi-final in the famous Gaelic park was memorable. Down struck for three early points by Martina McCafferty. New York responded with two points from Gillian Bennett. Midway through the half Michaela Downey, who dominated midfield throughout, sent a long ball into the New York goal area. Lisa Morgan flicked it to the net. New York came back with a string of points from Bennett but Down led by 1-8 to 0-9 at half time.

The second half opened dramatically with Joanne Lavery slotting home from a penalty after Michaela Downey had been brought down going through. Down were coasting to victory when they relaxed and allowed New York back into the game. A scrambled goal from Gillian Bennett left a point between the sides with minutes left. But Michaela Downey, who starred throughout the campaign, slotted over a point from a free to give Down a 2-13 to 1-14 win. Lisa Morgan topped the scoring list with 1-6.

Galway now stood between Down and All-Ireland glory. On a wet and cold 1st October the red and blacks again took Croke Park by storm Michaela Downey at Midfield, Lisa Morgan and Joanne Lavery in attack and Aoibheann Downey, Mairead Guinness and Maura McCabe in defence were shining lights in a star-studded team. While Down missed many good chances it was the coolness under pressure of expert free taker Lisa Morgan who scored 0-6 and Joanne Lavery with 0-4 that steered Down to a deserved 0-14 to 1-8 victory.

A delighted Down captain Jacqui Clarke, who led by example, received the City West Hotel Cup from Ladies GAA President Wally Thompson. The celebrations began immediately.

But Down’s day of history had one bright spark left. At the Bank of Ireland after match banquet in the Burlington Hotel Lisa Morgan received the player of the match award.

For historical purposes the Down team and scorers was: Elaine McCourt, Jacqui Clarke (Capt), Mairead Guinness, Veronica Ward, Bronagh McCurry, Aoibheann Downey, Maura McCabe, Michaela Downey (0-1), Marianna Devlin, Aoine Keary, Joanne Lavery (0-4), Michelle Fearon (0-

2), Martina McCafferty (0-1), Lisa Morgan (0-6), Cathy Gallagher. Sub: Brenda Russell for B.McCurry.

Monday night October 2nd saw a crowd of over 1,000 wait in the cold in Castlewellan to welcome their new Down heroines led by a cavalcade of cars, the players on an open topped bus were paraded to a special platform in the square where they were given a tumultuous welcome. At last the champions were home.

In the U16 Ulster Championship Down had a 6-10 to 0-1 win over Donegal. However Tyrone proved too strong in the Ulster final winning by 2-17 to 1-12. On the home front Iveagh Bosco retained the county title with a 3-6 to 0-14 victory over

Bredagh. Three first half Iveagh Bosco set them up for victory. In the Ulster

club championship Iveagh accounted for Dungannon. In the club final Monaghan Harps came from behind in injury time to beat the Down champions by 1-12 to 1-11.

Loughinisland won the county junior title with a positive 4-4 to 1-5 victory over Tullyish. Lisa Toman notched two goals while Claire Mason and Emma Joyce were the ‘Island’ other goal scorers. However they were well beaten by Fermanagh champions Cleenish in the Ulster club junior championship.

So a great year for Down ladies football has drawn to a close. All look forward to next year when they will compete in the senior ranks. Photos:

Down come home to noisy welcome:

New ladies All-Ireland Junior football champions Down made an historic and memorable return to the county last night, welcomed by a crowd of over 1,000 in

Castlewellan. After crossing the border with the City West Hotel Cup, Jacqui Clarke

and her team-mates arrived at the Canal Court Hotel in Newry where a good welcome awaited them. They journeyed to The Cove at Mayobridge where they were again

greeted. But it was the trip from there to Castlewellan which proved the most

prosperous and affectionate for all the players and management. On the outskirts of Castlewellan, on the Dublin Road, they left their team coach and boarded an open topped bus to be paraded to a special platform in the square in the town, where they were given a tumultuous welcome. Johnnie O’Neill, the President of the Castlewellan club, paid a special tribute to local star Lisa Morgan who, on Sunday, received the Bank of Ireland Player of the Match award.

Speaking to the assembled throng, team manager Seamus Branniff said that their road to victory began 12 months ago when he brought the panel together. They had trained four nights a week in all weathers and the current success was due to hard work and excellent coaching by Michelle Clancy, whom he said was the best acquisition he had made to the management team. As each of the players was introduced to the crowd, they were received rapturously. Team captain Jacqui Clarke, still hoarse from her exertions in Croke Park on Sunday, thanked everyone concerned and especially her team-mates and the management team for making their success possible.

To the strains of the ‘Star of the County Down’, sung by the team members, the night air in Castlewellan reverberated to the musical overture.

At long last the All-Ireland champions were home.

This is the fourth time in 10 years Castlewellan has welcomed home All-Ireland champions in different grades.



Bredagh Ladies Gaelic Football Club (LGFC) was set up in 1993, at a time when Ladies Gaelic Football was the fastest growing sport in Ireland. The ladies club is part of Bredagh G.A.C. which has kept Gaelic football alive in the community for over 30 years. Bredagh is the only Belfast based club competing in County Down.

Achievements in 2002

Bredagh won their first ever Down Championship on September 2002 by defeating the defending champions with a score line of 3-13 to 3-04. Bredagh Ladies will now face St. Eunan’s in the Senior Ulster Club Championship.


Down Senior Championship

Winners 2002, Runners Up 1999, 2000 & 2001.

Down Senior League Unfinished yet in 2002, Runners Up 2001, 2000, 1999.

Down Feis Seven’s. Winners 1999, Runners Up 2000.

All-Ireland Seven’s. Quarter Finalists of Shield 2001.

Castlewellan 7’2 – Runners up 2001 and 2000.

Club Personalities

Ulster & All-Ireland Junior Winners with Down in 2000.

Bredagh ladies are proud to have no fewer than six players on the Down team that won the All Ireland Junior title in Croke Park in 1999, beating Galway, including team captain Jacqui Clarke.

Ulster & All-Ireland Junior Winners with Tyrone in 1999.

Bredagh are also fortunate to have yet another All-Ireland winner with Tyrone midfielder and 2000 All-Star Arlene McCloskey. Arlene also captained Ulster to win the Inter-provincial title in 2002.


Last year Bredagh Ladies in conjunction with the men’s club ran a very successful

10-week youth scheme, with an average of 30 girls turning out every week. The club have built on the success of last year and formed the first ever Bredagh under age girls team which has been entered into the Down League this season.


Gaelic football stars Paul Brewster of Fermanagh and Down captain, Brian

Burns helped Bredagh GAC end their successful Youth Scheme in style at

Cherryvale on Saturday.

Ladies County players Eilish Gormley and Arlene McCloskey (Tyrone), and

Michaela Downey from Down reflected the Scheme’s determination to boost

girls Gaelic football in the area. Down captain Brian Burns represented

main sponsors HELM, while the South Belfast News provided a prize and

sponsorship of the final day of the 10-week scheme. “The sun came out, the boys and girls cheered all the winners and their parents joined in”. “It was the perfect end to the Scheme”, commented organiser Jerome Quinn. “Another gratifying aspect is that

dozens of them went home wearing Gaelic county jerseys”. “At the start of the scheme, hardly any of them knew the county colours but now they do”. “They are mainly from three primary schools, in South Belfast – St. Michael’s, St. Bernard’s and Holy Rosary”. Many of the boys and girls have signed up for a week of the Down Summer Camp at Lough Moss Leisure Centre in August, and forms are available from the club for anyone else interested.


Bredagh Senior men lost by three points at Ardglass in Division Four of the Down Leagues on Friday night, despite a second-half comeback. Points from Paddy Finnegan, Paul McEvoy and Conor O’Keefe, and a goal from Jerome Quinn were not quite enough to take the points. On Sunday evening, Bredagh Reserves were much too good for Saul in a game played at Cherryvale. Finnegan, Conal Donnelly and O’Keefe all scored goals. Down Ladies lost to Monaghan in Sunday’s Ulster SFC Semi-final at Crossmaglen. Captain Jacqui Clarke, from Bredagh, was philosophical in defeat. “It was a big step up for us, but we did well to score 1-12 over the

hour and we’ll be back”. (photos)

The future is bright … the future’s blue and gold as Brigid’s Under-16’s end on

a high. Saint Brigid’s finished their first ever season at Under 16 grade in Antrim with an impressive victory over Sarsfields, thereby securing Division One football for this three-year-old club next season.

While that in itself is a major achievement, it was all the more remarkable given that St.Brigid’s were forced to field no less than four under 14’s due to holidays and other commitments.

Mark Toland, Aidan Owens, Ryan Murphy and N.J.Convery, called in as a late replacement for Toland, were the youngsters who equipped themselves so well and helped secure this win.

If these four were impressive however, special mention must be made of Ruari O’Neill who, starting as play-maker at the centre half forward, finished the day with a personal tally of 3-3. Along with his brother and team captain Francis. Playing in the unfamiliar position of the edge of the opposition square rather than his own, the O’Neill boys ran the Sarsfields defence ragged.

Played in glorious sunshine, the game started brightly with the visitors getting off to a great start, some impressive play from the boys in green and black saw them race into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after 10 minutes. It was then however that O’Neill struck for the first time, latching on to a flick from his brother after a surging run from wing back James Loughrey.

A further goal from the sweetest right boot in South Belfast, that of Mark McIlDowney, and two points from Ruari left the score 2-2 to 0-3 in favour of St. Brigid’s at half time. While Sarsfields did stage a revival with a goal and two points midway through the second half, a further 2-1 from O’Neill along with a Fiontainn O’Hagan volleyed goal and a superb point from centre half-back, Paul O’Hara from all of 50 yards saw St. Brigid’s run out comfortable winners by 12 points.

Apart from the aforementioned under 14’s and scorers St. Brigid’s had solid performers throughout the park. Stephen Morrissey in goals, and Paul Finnegan with some great fielding at full back, marshalled solid defence where James Loughrey and Deaghlan O’Hagan kept the threat of the Sarsfields attack to a minimum. Ronan Burk along with Fiontainn O’Hagan competed well with a strong Sarsfields Mid Field and ensured a constant supply of ball to the attack. Up front apart from the O’Neills, Murphy and McIlDowney, Joseph McKeever and Luke Bogue gave possibly their best performances since they became founder players of the club three years ago.

Compliments should also be paid to Sarsfields who played their part in a hard sporting match. The key players at midfield along with some excellent half-backs and half-forwards, ensured an exciting hour. Special thanks also to ex-Sarsfields and now out of retirement, current St. Brigid’s referee, Liam Napier, who ensured the match, was played in a sporting manner.

So … the end of a successful season and its division one for the under 16’s and first ever St. Brigid’s minor team in 2002. What chance a St. Brigid’s player claiming a Saffron jersey for the County minors next year?!

Final Score: St Brigid’s 5-05 Sarsfields 1-05

Team: Stephen Morrissey, Aidan Owens, Paul Finnegan, Mark Toland, Deaghlan O’Hagan, Paul O’Hara, James Loughrey, Ronan Burk, Fiontainn O’Hagan, Joseph McKeever, Ruari O’Neill, Ryan Murphy, Luke Bogue, Francis O’Neill, Mark McIlDowney.

Sub: N.J.Convery

Kids get a kick out of Bredagh – Launch of Bredagh Youth Coaching

Scheme 2001

The sun came out, and more than 150 boys and girls for the first day of the Bredagh Youth 2001 Coaching Scheme at Cherryvale in Belfast last Saturday morning. The scheme is aimed at Primary School children in South Belfast who are new to Gaelic Football, and the attendance reflected the enthusiasm for Gaelic Games in the area.

“As everyone knows, we lost our pitch a few years ago”, says co-ordinator,

Jerome Quinn “but we have come through the bad times and this is a major success

for Bredagh. It gives us a foothold once more in the community, and shows how

determined we are to provide a service”. The problem for a generation has been the

absence of Gaelic games from many school curricula in the area, but separate after schools coaching schemes will start this week at St. Michael and St. Bernard’s. This means that boys and girls can play Gaelic football at school and with the club.

Six of Down’s All-Ireland ladies champions come from Bredagh and they were on hand to coach the 70 young girls who turned up last Saturday, while 82 boys enjoyed learning the basic skills for the first time. One boy, Colm Coyle from St Michael’s PS, designed a T-shirt for everyone on the course. “Get a kick out of Bredagh” is the slogan on the front, while sponsor HELM is on the reverse. Colm won a Dublin jersey, while runners-up, Martha Davey and Matthew Mullan won Cork Jerseys. “It’s all part of the education in teaching them about Gaelic games”, said Jerome Quinn. “Give me a few months and Manchester United jerseys will be replaced with county and club shirts! I also went around the primary schools last week and gave away 540 books, and they still came out on Saturday!” The scheme continues this Saturday and

every Saturday up to the end of June. Registration fee is five pounds. Jerome hopes that the Down Coaching officers will be able to attend a future session, as well as some county stars. “This was a marvellous team effort by our club, with so many people helping out. We had people like Eunan O’Brien, Liam McGarry, Dermot McGreevy, Paul McEvoy and Ciaran

O’Keefe coaching the boys, while James Conlon did registration, Laurence Magennis organised the drinks, and Paul Doran was club photographer!” (photos)

Kingdom pip RGU in tight struggle

An Riocht ..0-14 Downpatrick .. 0-12

This was a stirring affair, much better fare than their tepid championship meeting a few weeks ago. This was a game played at a hectic pace with scores flying over at either end, full of blocks and high catches and probably only a draw would have been a fairer return for the endeavours of both sets of players. The brilliant Ger Deegan had Hoops three points to one up. An Riocht had their own proficient target man and

he had it level at four all with his third point. Sean Paul Smith took over then for the home side and they went in seven points to six ahead. Smith burst through on the restart but T.P. Louden did well to turn his strike out for a fifty. They were level four times in the second half. Deegan levelled, Smith put An Riocht two up, Deegan again equalised by the three-quarter stage and Hoops played pinball with the An Riocht post. Though Smith restored the home lead, Hoops put three consecutive scores together to lead 0-12 to 0-10 with several minutes to play.

An Riocht showed great heart to hit back, Paul Colgan right and left, then Smith down the middle twice in quick succession made it 0-14 to 0-12 and as time ran out he saw

another effort come back off the post and away.

Team and scorers: An Riocht: B. McVeigh, A. Annett, S. Flanagan, C. Mulligan, J. Clarke, D. O’Reilly, K. Doyle, P. Murney 0-1, P. Colgan 0-2, K. McVeigh, D. Cunningham, N. Fitzpatrick 0-1, S.P. Smith 0-7, B. Annett 0-3, M. O’Rourke.

Downpatrick: T.P. Louden, P. McCartan, D. Carville, M. Trainor, H. Rice, B. Gracey, P. Oakes 0-1, D. McCartan 0-1, P. McAlinden, M. Stott, Greg Deegan, J. Breen, J. Smith, Ger Deegan 0-7, P. Telford 0-1.

Sub: K Smith 0-2 for McAlinden.

Referee: D.Mulvaney (Warrenpoint)

Best for the winners were Brendan McVeigh in goals, defenders Chris Mulligan and Declan O’Reilly, midfielders Paul Murray and Paul Colgan and forwards Sean Paul Smith, Barry Annett and Michael O’Rourke.

For Hoops keeper T. P. Louden, backs Harry Rice and Barry Gracey, Midfielder Donal McCartan and forwards K. Smith for Deegan (photos).


FINAL 2002

Bredagh Ladies triumph

Bredagh 3-13 Iveagh Bosco 3-4

Bredagh ladies footballers have written themselves into football history by winning their first ever SFC crown. They beat holders and red-hot favourites Iveagh Bosco in a thrilling final at Pairc Tomas Ruiseil, Downpatrick. After a nervous start in which they conceded an early goal, Bredagh settled, took the game to their opponents, gained control and maintained their supremacy to the finish. Defenders Ciara Gallagher, Siobhan McCarney, Mairead Guinness and Maura McArdle were magnificent and gave the Iveagh Bosco attack few chances. Midfielders Cera McArdle and Jacqui Clarke, who captained Down to All-Ireland junior glory in 2000, held a slight edge over Michaela Downey. The Bredagh attack moved with speed and

precision. Joanne Lavery, back from a year in Australia, her Down All-Ireland winning colleague Cathy Gallagher, also back in the team after being out for a year through injury, Geraldine Grimley and Martina McCafferty gave the over-worked Iveagh Bosco defence a serious examination. Iveagh Bosco took the lead after two

minutes when a lob from Michaela Downey went all the way to the net. After this reverse Bredagh settled and Joanne Lavery set up Geraldine Grimley who glided

past the Iveagh defence to shoot to the net for the equaliser. Three minutes later Joanne Lavery pointed a free to give Bredagh the lead.

In those opening ten minutes goals were the order of the day. Iveagh Bosco regained the lead with another great goal from their star player, Michaela Downey. Again Bredagh fought back and a brilliant cross by Joanne Lavery was flicked to the net by Lorraine McCaffrey to level the game once again.

The turning point came ten minutes from half time when the brilliant Joanne Lavery ran through the Iveagh Bosco and shot to the net for a lead they never lost. This score settled the Bredagh side. Jacqui Clarke got on top at midfield and points flowed from Mairead Guinness, Geraldine Grimley, Cathy Gallagher and Joanne Lavery as Bredagh moved into a half time lead of 3-7 to 2-3.

That lead would have been much smaller but for a brilliant save by Fionnuala McAtamney to deny Michaela Downey minutes before the interval. Bredagh continued to dominate in the second half. Joanne Lavery added points before Iveagh came back with a goal to reduce their deficit to six points. In a ten-minute spell midway through the half Iveagh turned up the pressure, but the Bredagh defence was magnificent with Mairead Guinness, Jacqui McAllister and Maura McArdle brilliant in the half back line.

In the final ten minutes Bredagh had points from Lorraine McCaffrey and Joanne Lavery capped a brilliant individual display with a final point to put the seal on a memorable victory which saw Siobhan McCarney, the Bredagh captain, raise aloft the SFC trophy for the first time.

In her acceptance speech Siobhan thanked their sponsors, Mercury Bar and Grill and NIAVAC, and the Bredagh manager, Collie McAllister, who had prepared them for this victory.

Bredagh: F. McAtamney, C. Gallagher, S. McCarney (capt), F. McCrory, M. Guinness (0-1), M. McArdle, J. McAllister, C. McArdle, J. Clarke, C. Gallagher (0-1), G. Grimley (1-1), R. McCallum, M. McCafferty (0-1), J. Lavery (1-8), L. McCaffrey (1-1).

Subs: A. McCloskey, H. McGale, M. Corry, N. O’Neill, G. McAllister, N. Breslin, E. Proctor, O. Smyth, M. Smylie.



In 1999 Castlewellan U-14 girls travelled to Limerick more in hope than anything else. After taking part in the opening parade from Rathkeale to the new Limerick Co. grounds each participating team captain was presented with a commemorative plaque.

On Friday evening the girls secured a draw against Ballyhahill considered to

be the best underage side in Limerick. On Saturday morning the team travelled

to Athea to play group games against teams from Galway –Westmeath – Cork winning the group on score difference, and qualifying to play Limerick side Athea

in the All-Ireland Semi-final.

The semi-final was a tense affair. Athea were a bigger team and had proved to be quite a physical side on their way to the semi-final. However the ‘Town’ girls proved too strong for them and advance to Sunday’s final.

On Sunday morning the girls travelled back to Rathkeale to face Virginia of Cavan in the final who had been runner up the previous year. After a titanic struggle Castlewellan were All-Ireland champions for the 1st time. Paula Cleland won the individual skills title and Helen O’Rourke National Secretary presented the prizes to the victorious girls.

For Manager Miceal Morgan and the U.14 girls from Castlewellan a truly remarkable achievement.


Ulster Intermediate Ladies Football Championship Final

Iveagh-Bosco 3-16 Four Masters (Donegal) 1-7

Iveagh-Bosco made history at Clones by winning the first ever Ulster Intermediate Ladies Football Championship title, the first club from Down to win a Ladies Ulster Football title.

Iveagh-Bosco started strongly with four unanswered points, one from Michaela Downey, two from Karen Hopkins and one from Michelle Fearon.

Four Masters opened their account with a Denise Dunnion free in the 12th minute. Margaret Rodgers and Downey added a further point.

Donna Quinn replied with a long range point for Four Masters, Sharon Murnaghan scored a point for Iveagh after some good approach play from centre half back Aobhean Downey.

Four Masters added another point from Michelle Heaney from an acute angle and then she made a devastating 30 metre run and hand passed to Denise Dunnion who shot to the net.

Donna Quinn and Michelle Keaney added two more points for Four Masters and Paula Miller made a tremendous sole run to get the best point of the first half.

At half time it was level Iveagh-Bosco 0-8, Four Masters 1-5.


Iveagh-Bosco started the second half in explosive style with a goal from Catherine McConville within 30 seconds.

Straight from the kick-out Michaela Downey fielded the ball, beat three Four Masters defenders and hit an unstoppable shot into the net.

Iveagh-Bosco added further points, one from Karen Hopkins and four Michaela Downey points. Denise Dunnion scored two points which were to be Four Masters’ last scores of the match.

Iveagh-Bosco continued to get scores from Ann Marie Reilly (goal), and Catherine McConville, a terrific point from the 45-metre line.

Paula Miller popped up from half back to score another point and Michaela Downey added the final point in time added on.


This was a good all round team performance. In defence Paula Miller and Aobhean Downey were outstanding and at midfield Michaela Downey and Brenda Russell were in total control. Up front Michelle Fearon, Catherine McConville, Karen Hopkins and Margaret Rodgers worked tirelessly.

Lorraine Tumelty received the cup from Oliver Gavin, president of the Ulster Ladies Football Council. Oliver also presented the player of the match award to Michaela Downey. Iveagh-Bosco will go forward to play the winners of the Connacht Championship in the All-Ireland semi-final on November 14.

Iveagh-Bosco team and scorers: Elaine McCourt, Marie Burke, Lorraine Tumelty, Theresa Fearon,

Caroline Quinn, Aobheann Downey, Paula Miller 0-2, Michaela Downey

1-7, Brenda Russell, Ann Marie Reilly 1-0, Catherine McConville 1-1, Karen Hopkins 0-3, Margaret Rodgers 0-1, Sharon Murnaghan 0-1, Michelle Fearon 0-1.

Substitutes: Louise Clarke, Niamh Lennon, Emma McCartan, Nuala

Jennings, Lyndsey Cunningham, Cathy McCartan, Elaine Cunninghan,

Patricia Jennings, Emma Madine, Cathy Gillen, Bridgeen O’Hare, Helen McCarthy, Martina Havern.

Management: Des Jennings, Martin Jennings (coach).


By Matt Fitzpatrick.

When the Down Ladies footballers overcame Donegal in the Ulster JFC final and raised aloft the Hugh Meehan Cup little did they realise what lay before them.

When the excitement of their victory in their third successive final to win the Ulster title for the first time had died down it all became much clearer. They not only created history but set in motion a chain of events that would lead to All-Ireland glory. However, before their ultimate goal was achieved there was the very large challenge of a trip to New York for the All-Ireland semi-final. There was also the major headache of raising some £25,000 to cover the trip for the team panel and officials to the Big Apple. They had five weeks in which to raise the money. They did just that. It was hard work combined with their training schedule. But believe me the ladies of Down are a determined crowd. They set out their objectives and success is the result.

Passports in order, plane tickets obtained it was New York here we come. For the East Down players and officials the starting point was Castlewellan. At 3am on Thursday September 7th we boarded the team coach and headed through Kilcoo, Hilltown, Newry and on to Dublin airport. The Aer Lingus flight took off at 9.50am. A three hour stop in Shannon saw us arrive in New York at 3.15pm (New York time).

It was here that we encountered a man who was to be our guide, taxi man and in a way our guardian through the eight days stay in the Big Apple.

John Joe McGovern, a Fermanagh man owns a fleet of taxis, mini buses and limousines (the long stretch variety). Almost two hours after arriving in JFK airport John Joe (as we all became to know him) had us at our Hotel …. the Royal Regency Hotel …. in Yonkers in up town residential New York.

Michelle Clancy had the job of sorting out the rooms and getting everyone settled in. Team Manager Seamus Branniff was keen that the panel were settled.

There to greet the Down party were the various members of the New York Ladies Board and the main New York Board. Ann Leyden from Tulla in Co. Clare had a great chat with her fellow county woman Michelle Clancy the Down trainer. Anne Holland, a native of Killarney who is the first lady President of the New York Association, and a member of the New York playing panel went to great ends to make the visitors welcome.

To Anne goes a lot of thanks for a pleasant time. Caroline Conway, Mary P. Toolan, Pauline Boylan, Marie Flood a native of Lavey, Co. Cavan, and Rosie O’Reilly from Mullahorn Co. Cavan a member of the New York team, joint owner with Lorraine Farrell of Granualle’s in McLean Avenue, Yonkers were all there to say welcome. So too was Wally Thompson the President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. Caroline Conway, Pauline Boylan and Nollaig Cleary (Fermanagh), Catherine McAteer (Cavan), Dervil Carey (Monaghan), and Clare Treacy (Liatroim), laid out the red carpet for the visiting Down party with the promise that on Sunday it would be much different.

Because our hotel was in a residential area every time we wanted to go anywhere a cab had to be called. There at all times was John Joe McGovern, with his fleet of 15 seater mini buses – 3 dollars a head … no matter what the journey. His buses, ‘Break to the border’ were familiar sights outside the hotel “3 dollars a head”.

For the Irish the familiar stamping ground around Yonkers, Queens and Woodside is McLean Avenue in Yonkers. A two mile long home from home for the Irish. Pubs, restaurants, shops and all sorts of business establishments.

On Thursday night after getting settled into our hotel, nothing like the Burlington … The New York Board entertained the visiting party to a dinner in “The Heritage” owned by Rory Kilfeather a Donegal man. The barman actually was a neighbour of mine from Fermanagh. Friday night saw Terry Connaughton, from Roscommon, the Lifetime President of the New York Association and a well known figure at the GAA annual Congress each year, invite the officials of both counties to his establishment “The Riverdale Steak House” in the Bronx for a meal. There I ran into James Lovett the manager and trainer of the Cavan minor team and coaching officer with the Cavan county board. He had been invited over to New York to train and coach the ladies for their battle with Down. James is well known to me through the Ulster Vocational Schools football scene.

Friday saw the Down squad train in Van Cortland public park followed by a visit to Gaelic Park where a soccer training session was in progress. Down manager Seamus Branniff was not amused. His pleas to New York did manage to obtain a training session at 8am on Saturday morning. The players trained again on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning they had a light work out in Van Cortland Park before entering Gaelic Park. Players were treated to an Irish breakfast in the Hibernian in McLean Avenue on Sunday morning after mass.

Gaelic Park New York has changed little from my playing days there. A little more grass but now only one side is available for spectators. The sideline seats have gone but the social centre and banqueting hall is still there. The pitch itself is far from ideal. It was bumpy with a baseball quadrant in the left corner covered in shale and sand. But it is a home from home for the Irish footballers and hurlers based in the Big Apple.

What excitement the game itself created on Sunday. A full house of around 5,000 crammed into Gaelic park. There I met a good neighbour of mine Mick Leary from outside Clones who is over 40 years in the Big Apple and a member of the New York Board.

Lennie Kelly from Drumnaquoile and Nuala McBrien (nee Cunningham) from Castlewellan, my cousin Tom and his wife Geraldine (nee Graham) from Clones, former Donegal all Ireland star and former Cavan team manager Martin McHugh and his family holidaying in New York, Francie McEvoy (Dromara) and a contingent of Rostrevor folk were all there to cheer on Down. Fergie Hanna (Rostrevor) now the owner of a thriving Irish Newspaper in New York called “Home & Away” brought copies of his paper in which his Lady’s Gaelic games reporter Pauline Boylan previewed the game. You know it was just like being in St.Patrick’s Park Newcastle on a Down football finals day. As the teams paraded round the park led by the New York Emerald Pipe Band all members of both panels took part. Catheriona Morgan, the Down Ladies secretary carried the Down flag in the parade.

The game itself was an exciting affair. Down were the team with the flair, imagination, teamwork and commitment. New York were strong, burly and just as committed, but overall they lacked teamwork.

Midway through the first half Lisa Morgan flicked a cross from Aine Keary to the net to give Down a 1-3 to 0-2 lead. 17 year old Lisa Morgan was giving the New York defence a testing time. Along with Joanne Lavery and Michelle Fearon they tore holes in the home side’s rearguard. Lisa finished the game with 1-6, which shows how valuable a member of the side she had become. New York fought back in the second quarter thanks to some great long-range points from Gillian Bennett, an Irish Republic soccer international. Michelle Fearon and Aine Keary both wrapped the New York crossbar with great efforts. Down led by 1-8 to 0-9 at half time.

Five minutes into the second half Joanne Lavery tucked away a Down penalty followed by a point from Martina McCafferty to establish a seven point lead. Down were cruising to victory when even minutes from time Gillian Bennett finished a New York move with a goal. Suddenly the lead was cut to four points. But Down had an ace in their pack. Michaela Downey, the best player on view, who had dominated midfield throughout, slotted over two points which ensured a 2-13 to 1-14 victory.

New York were stunned but they took defeat like the great side they are. After being beaten by Tyrone in last years final they felt that this was their year.

But they reckoned without Down’s fighting spirit. History had been created in more ways than one. This was the first Ladies All Ireland game played in New York and Down were in their first final at their first attempt. The after match banquet in Gaelic Park on the Sunday night was something special. The girls and management were relaxed now. The first part of their goal had been realised.

The rest of the time in New York was spent relaxing, shopping, more shopping and sight seeing.

Monday saw Roy Dolan, another neighbour of mine from Belturbet, Co. Cavan, play host to the party for lunch in his McLean Avenue establishment.

On Tuesday Fergie Hanna arranged a sight seeing tour of New York harbour, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Statin Island.

A walking tour of Manhattan, Wall Street (no deals done) and the sea port shopping complex certainly gave all a feeling of the size of New York.

Tuesday night was the real big one. The Down Ladies GAA Club of New York led by Roisin Rooney played hosts to the Down party in Copper Face Jacks in Woodside which is the Down Association social headquarters and the home of Woodside’s Celtic Supporters club. Rostrevor and former Down minor star, John Markey still wearing the number 3 Down jersey in New York is chairman of the Down Association. Along with his brother, Martin McGivern a member of Down’s 1987 All Ireland minor winning team, Paul Gannon the big Rostrevor keeper and Fergie Hanna gave Down player Brenda Russell from the seaside town a great welcome. They were there from all over Down. Francie McEvoy from Dromara, Kieran Doyle from Burren, Gareth and David Bailie from Bryansford, Lenny Kelly from Drumnaquoile, Nuala McBrien from Castlewellan and my cousin Tom were all there to celebrate and send Down home in true Mourne fashion.

So the eight days in the Big Apple soon drew to an end. John Joe and his fleet of mini buses brought us to JFK airport for our Aer Lingus flight home. On board the captain and crew welcomed the Down party and wished them well in the All-Ireland final. On Friday morning September 15 we arrived back in Dublin airport at 5.10am.

It was only now that all realised what had been achieved. The journey back to the Mournes was subdued. All were tired …. jet lag they call it. But in Castlewellan when we arrived at the Morgan household there was a pleasant surprise. The outside of the house was decorated in red and black flags, bunting and big number 14 jersey. We all knew then that the potential champions were well and truly home.



Late surge see Tyrone through to the Senior Final:

Only a couple of points separated the teams for most of the match and they were level on three occasions. It wasn’t until the 23rd minute in the second half that Tyrone finally shook off the Down challenge. The four-minute scoring blitz by Tyrone, when they scored 1-3 without reply, was all that separated the teams. The battle of the top scorers between Tyrone’s Lynette Hughes and Down’s Michaela Downey was a draw with each scoring nine points for their team. The game was riddled with frees and both Hughes and Downey took full advantage when within scoring range. But because of all the frees there was no flow to the game which was also not helped by several long stoppages for players taking hefty knocks.

Down were the first to score when Michaela Downey converted a free in the 2nd minute. She then added the second point after a great individual effort soloing through the defence before taking the shot. Another free conceded in the 6th minute for a foul on Hilary O’Reilly was duly converted by Michaela Downey. Tyrone struck next in the 10th minute with a point from Lynette Hughes. Minutes later and she converted a free for a foul on Dolores Hughes.

Down then stretched their one point lead with two well taken frees by Michaela Downey for fouls conceded by Connie Fox and Aisling Hagan. In reply Tyrone hit three unanswered points all from play to bring the sides level. Two of the scores coming from Lynette Hughes and one from Shauna McGirr. In the final play of the first half Katrina Murphy linked with midfielder Arlene McCloskey to find Dolores Hughes who in turn found Lynette Hughes who sent over a lovely point to put Tyrone ahead by one at the interval.

Four minutes into the second half and Lynette Hughes converted yet another free but this was cancelled minutes later with a converted free from Michaela Downey. Then with ten minutes gone the sides were level as Michaela Downey pointed from a rebound of the crossbar. Parity was short lived as one minute later Lynette Hughes pointed a free for a foul on wing forward Delores Hughes. Tyrone then saw four changes go wide before Michaela Downey converted a free to bring the sides level again.

Then came the four minute Tyrone blitz which put daylight between the teams for the first time in the game. A Shauna McGirr pass set up Lynette Hughes for the first point. This was immediately followed by the goal. A quickly taken free kick by Lynette Hughes 20m out from goals caught the down backs napping and found Murphy unmarked in front of goals with only the keeper to beat, which she did with a superb strike. Lynette Hughes and Murphy added two points shortly afterwards and the blitz was over.

With less than four minutes left to play, there was to be no way back for Down. Although Michaela Downey converted a free shortly afterwards it was immediately cancelled by a point from Murphy. Tyrone created several more chances but none were converted. Down added a late consolation point and the game ended with

the Red Hand girls ahead by 1-12 to 0-10 at the final whistle. The result sets up a replay of last years Ulster final as Tyrone now go on to meet Monaghan in what should be a closely fought game of football. Tyrone will be seeking to retain their Ulster Title.

Tyrone: Martina Glackin, Aisling Hagan, Siobhan McGarvey, Martina Doyle, Claire McGarvey, Connie Fox, Nuala McCartan, Arlene McCloskey, Lisa McGirr, Dolores Hughes, Katrina Murphy (1-2), Shauna McGirr (0-1), Anne Donnelly, Lynette Hughes (0-9), Cathy McCullagh.

Subs: Ciara Maxwell for McCullagh, Nuala McGarvey for A. Donnelly, Jane Marie Tierney for McCloskey.

Down: Elaine McCourt, Jacqui Clarke, Aine Keary, Jenna Connell, Mairead McGuinness, Aoibhean Downey, Bronagh McCurry, Michaela Downey (0-9), Maura McCabe, Anne Marie McCormick, Joanne Lavery, Maeve McConville, Michelle Fearon, Sinead McEvoy (0-1), Hilary O’Reilly.

Subs: Naomi O’Hagan for McCurry.

Philip O’Hare.

Philip O’Hare from Newry, is an icon of the Iveagh Bosco club, that has won II of the Down senior championships, since the county affiliated in 1994. Philip would be one of the best-known football administrators in the Mourne County, however it was with county Armagh, in ladies football that he called his first mark in 1992. Armagh who were affiliated to the new association in the 70’s, immediately joined the new Ulster council, when it was formed by Philip Kelly, and Oliver Gavin from Monaghan in 1992. Philip was appointed first registrar to the new provincial council, and had held a similar post with the newly formed Armagh board. Philip and his friend Dolores Teggart, were the chief officers of the Mullaghaban club, in the south of the county, and were the early kingpins in the Orchard counties football competitions.

Philip was elected as chairman of the Armagh board, as well as been chairman of his club, and he retained his positions in 1994. Philip became the Ulster secretary in 1994 in succession to the late Caroline Quinn from Donegal who died in office in 93. On the instigation of Philip, Down formed a county board and affiliated to the association. Philip switched his allegiance to his native county, and was immediately elected chairman, an officer ship he held until 1997, giving him 5 years as chairman of both counties.

Philip became Ulster president in 1996 in succession to his great pal Oliver Gavin, and along with his old colleague Dolores Taggart, as the Ulster secretary, the provincial organisation was going places fast, and that was indeed copper fastened by Monaghan winning two senior all Ireland titles, in Philip’s term of office as president. Philip was succeeded in office by Owen McNally from Monaghan who left the post after a few months, Oliver Gavin, the vice president took the reigns of power until the term of the president expired in 2001. Philip was again elected to the chair, but refused to take his seat, with a fellow officer, who he considered to have less to offer to the association in transpherency and fairplay. And Hugh Devenney from Donegal took the seal of office for the province.

Philip was also a proficient referee at club, and county level, and could always be relied on to distribute fairplay and an explanation of the rules, to players, and managers, who would require guidance. He also would have in different time scales, have tried his hand at management, in particular under age teams, and one could rest assured, that Philip’s charges, would be mature, and fully up to the task of playing football, with the prime motive of winning another title for the club of course always by fair means, and all who know him, knows thats the way he would want it.

Philip O’Hare, was an unsuccessful national presidential candidate, losing out to Wally Thompson, and Ita C Hannon in the controversial 1999 election. Philip had served as vice president to the national association, that ran concurrent with his term as Ulster president 1996 to 99.

His quiet demur, and comprehensive advise on national matters, earned him high respect, and a man of trust, within the halls of central council, he also served as a regional fixtures officer, and a proxy spokesperson for the British administration on central council around the turn of the century, he has since served a variety of officer ships on the Ulster council, and is at present a director of development, in conjunction with the new development office in the City of Armagh.

Philip in the early years of the new Ulster association, acted as an advisor to new county boards who were being set up, and indeed he along with his old colleague Oliver Gavin, would have attended most of those inaugural meetings. This writer remembers his attendance at the Fermanagh formation meeting where his advise eased the way, where demarcation, and select co-erosive procedures, seemed to be a high dimension to be cleared. Since those early volcanic times in the Erne county, Philip O’Hare has always had the interest of Fermanagh at heart, giving sound advice on inter county transfers, and migrant players who would be seeking a temporary home in football, and who would threaten the textures of other clubs, who might seek protection.

It would be very remiss not to recognise Philip O’Hare’s “Mega” contribution to ladies football during the timescale I have outlined. However, within my grammatical and writing limitations, I may not have done him total justice on his contribution to the association since 1992. Perhaps to give impact to his contribution, one should advance no further than the ancient “Latin philosophy”, “Si Minumentum Requires Circumspice”.

If you seek his monument, Walk his Trail.

County Board 2004

Officers 1995 – 2004

Chair – Paul Kelly

Vice Chair – John McCarthy

Secretary – Catherine McConville

Asst Secretary – Michelle Fearon

Treasurer – Siobhan Morgan

Asst Treasurer – Siobhan Burke

Registrar – Siobhan Burke

P.R.O. – P J Cunningham

Fixtures Secretary – Lorraine McCaffrey

Ulster Delegate – Michaela Downey

County Board 2003

Chair – Gerry Campbell

Vice chair – Paul Kelly

Secretary – Siobhan Burke

Asst Secretary – Ciara Smyth

Treasurer – Siobhan Morgan

Asst Treasurer – Vacant

P.R.O. – P J Cunningham

Registrar – Paul Kelly

Ulster Delegate – Gerry Campbell

County Board 2002

Chair – Des Jennings

Vice Chair – Michael Hawkins

Secretary – Siobhan Burke

Asst Secretary – Paul Kelly

Treasurer – Cathy Gallagher

Asst Treasurer – Siobhan Morgan

P.R.O. – Seamus Branniff

Registrar – Paul Kelly

Ulster Delegates – Philip O’Hare

– Brendan McCourt

County Board 2001

Chair – Michael Hawkins

Vice Chair – Des Jennings

Secretary – Siobhan Burke

Asst Sec – Paul Kelly

Treasurer – Siobhan Morgan

Asst Treasurer – Vacant

P.R.O. – Vacant

Registrar – Paul Kelly

Development Officer – Vacant

Irish Language Officer – Vacant

Ulster Delegates – Philip O’Hare

Duane Keirans

County Board 2000

Chair – Des Jennings

Vice Chair – Seamus Branniff

Secretary – Caterina Morgan

Asst Sec – Paul Kelly

Treasurer – Cathy Gallagher

Asst Treasurer – Siobhan Morgan

Registrar – Ronan Barry

P.R.O. – Seamus Branniff

Ulster Delegate – Philip O’Hare

Development Officer – Martina McCaffrey

Asst Dev Officer – Denise Martin

Irish Language Officer – Sinead McEvoy

County Board 1999

Chair – Michael Morgan

Vice Chair – Seamus Branniff

Secretary – Carmel Doherty

Asst Secretary – Paul Kelly

Treasurer – Kay McGreevy

Asst Treasurer – Martin Keenan

Registrar – Ronan Barry

P.R.O. – Seamus Branniff

Irish Language Officer – Catherine Curran

Ulster Delegate – Brendan McCourt

County Board 1998

Chair – Vacant

Vice chair – Martin Keenan

Secretary – Paddy McGreevy

Asst Sec – Carmel Doherty

Treasurer – Kay McGreevy

Registrar – Ronan Barry

P.R.O. – Seamus Branniff.

Ulster Delegate – Brendan McCourt

Irish Language Officer – Catherine Curran

County Board 1997

Chair: – Michael Morgan

Vice Chair: – Des Jennings

Secretary: – Carmel Doherty

Treasurer: – Kay McGreevey

Registrar: – Ronan Barry

PRO: – Seamus Braniff

County Board 1996

Chair: – Philip O’Hare

Vice-Chair: – Des Jennings

Secretary: – Carmel Doherty

Asst Sec: – Paul Kelly

PRO: – Ronan Barry

Treasurer: – Kay McGreevey

Registrar: – Ronan Barry

County Board 1995

Chair – Philip O’Hare

Vice Chair – Brian O’Hare

Secretary – Kim Carson

Asst Secretary – Jenny Mulholland

Treasurer – Kay McGreevy

P.R.O. – Jenny Mulholland

Registrar – Ronan Barry

Down players who have represented Ulster in the Interprovincials over the last ten years.

Michaela Downey – Iveagh-Bosco

Aoibhean Downey – Iveagh-Bosco

Marianna Devlin – Annaclone

Lisa Morgan – Castlewellan

Jenna Connell – Bryansford

Martina McCafferty – Bredagh

Ann-Marie Ward – Bredagh

Margaret Rodgers – Iveagh-Bosco

Helen Rice – Loughinisland

Maeve McNeill – Annaclone.

Down’s First All Star Replacement

All-Star All-Ireland

Replacement Combined Colleges

97+98+2000 Team 99 +2000+2002


2002: Senior League: Bredagh

Junior : Ballymartin

2001: Senior: Bosco

Junior: Annaclone

2000: Senior: Bosco

Junior: Loughinisland

1999: Senior: Bosco

Junior: Downpatrick

1998: Senior: Iveagh Bosco

Junior: Tullylish

1997: Senior: Void League

Junior: Tullylish

1996: Senior: Castlewellan

Junior: Loughinisland

1995: Senior: Iveagh Bosco

Junior: Castlewellan

County Board Officers who made a massive contribution to Ladies Gaelic Football in Down over the years.

Kay McGreevey – Annaclone. County Board Treasurer from 1994 to 1999.

Ronan Barry – Tullylish. County Board Register from 1994 to 2000.

Catherina Morgan – Castlewellan. County Board Secretary during the year 2000. Which was the busiest year in Down Ladies history.

Cathy Gallagher – Bredagh. County Board Treasurer in 2000 looked after the finances for the major trip to New York & All Ireland Final.

Seamus Branniff – Dromara. County Board P.R.O. 1996 to 2001.

County Board Development Officer 96 to 99.

County Board Vice-Chairperson 99.

County Team Manager 1995 to 2001.

Ulster Selector from 1996 to 2001.

Ulster Team Manager 2002.

Down Roll of Honour

Senior Championship

1994 Iveagh Bosco

1995 Iveagh Bosco

1996 Iveagh Bosco

1997 Castlewellan

1998 Iveagh Bosco

1999 Iveagh Bosco

2000 Iveagh Bosco

2001 Iveagh Bosco

2002 Bredagh

2003 Castlewellan

2004 Iveagh Bosco

Intermediate Championship

2001 Annaclone

2002 Loughinisland

2003 Downpatrick

2004 Loughinisland

Junior Championship

1996 Castlewellan

1997 Tullylish

1998 Loughinisland

1999 Downpatrick

2000 Loughinisland

2001 Burren

2002 Ballymartin

2003 Clonduff

2004 Aughlisnafin

U/16 Championship

1995 Iveagh Bosco

1996 Iveagh Bosco

1997 Castlewellan

1998 Castlewellan

1999 Castlewellan

2000 Bryansford

2001 Castlewellan

2002 Iveagh Bosco

2003 Bryansford

2004 Bryansford

U/13 League C/ship

1999 Bryansford

2000 Iveagh Bosco

2001 Iveagh Bosco

2002 Bryansford

2003 Saval

2004 Saval

New Down Ladies Football Chairman –


Down Ladies County Convention members elected a new Chairman at their recent annual meeting. Castlewellan’s Michael Hawkins has taken over from Des Jennings.

The new team manager of the ladies county team is former Burren star and all All-Ireland medallist Larry Duggan. With the national football league starting at the end of the month he is keen to get together a strong panel.

Several of the All-Ireland players have called it a day, so the NFL will give the management a chance to have a look at the talent available for this season championship.

Down ladies county board hold annual presentation – 04/12/02

Supplied by Patrick Cunningham

The Down ladies county board held their annual presentation night on Friday 29th November. This is always a prestigious event which was merited by the large turnout at the Hilltown venue.

The awards were made by the Down ladies current management set-up of Larry Duggan and Mark Clarke. There were a few double celebrations on offer on the night. Bredagh made the breakthrough at senior level to end the dominance of Iveagh Bosco at this grade, taking back to the city the league and Championship double. Ballymartin brought the junior league & Championship to the mourne country and both these sides remained undefeated in Down for the 2002 season.

Loughinisland took the intermediate championship but special mention to Teconnaught who appeared in the junior decider in their first season in ladies football. Bryansford has cause for celebration at underage level coming up trumps at U-13 & U-16.

Gerry Campbell (chairman) rounded off the evening’s celebrations by thanking the current committee for the hard work they put in over the last year. There was a special thank you to the referee’s who do sterling work in the promotion of the game within our county and who without the ladies game would cease to exist. He thanked all the clubs for their continuous work and endeavours which enabled the ladies game to flourish in 2002. Finally he congratulated the teams receiving awards on the night and Clonduff GAC for use of their excellent facilities.

The Roll of Honour was as follows:

Grade League Championship

Senior Winner Bredagh Bredagh

R-Up Castlewellan Iveagh Bosco

Intermediate Winner – Loughinisland

R-Up – Downpatrick

Junior Winner Ballymartin Ballymartin

R-Up Annaclone II’s Teconnaught

U-16 Winner Bryansford Burren

U-13 Winner Bryansford –

Six Down Girls on the Ulster Panel –


Six Down ladies footballers have been selected by Ulster coach, Seamus Braniff on the Ulster panel of 30 who will take part in the Interprovincial Series in Mullingar on May 10 – 12.

The competition will be played on a league basis with the top two teams playing off in the final.

Ulster won the event for the first time in 1999, and will be hoping for a repeat success on this occasion. Amongst the Ulster players will be the top stars from Monaghan and Tyrone two of the ‘big guns’ in Ulster ladies football at the present time.

The six Down players selected are – Michaela and Aoibhean Downey (Iveagh Bosco); Marianna Devlin (Annaclone), Jenna Connell (Bryansford), Lisa Morgan and Aine Keary (Castlewellan).

Down Ladies get Awards – 01/12/02

A trio of Down lady footballers were the recipients of awards at the Ulster Ladies’ Council 10th annual awards dinner in Kelly’s Inn, Omagh, on Friday night.

Aoibhean and Michaela Downey and Lisa Morgan were on the Ulster team which won the interprovincial title. Former Down All-Ireland winning manager Seamus Branniff received a special award as the manager of the Ulster team.

Down Ladies 2002

Club Scene

Ladies football in Down has continued to go from strength to strength over the past season. We welcomed on board Clonduff, Teconnaught and Aughlisnafin and with other clubs in the showing the desire to participate, the future of ladies football in Down can only progress in 2003.

The Down County board elected to change the league format for 2002. The senior league was made up of ten teams based on previous years league standings. They played each other once before splitting. The top five teams at this stage formed the League proper with the bottom five making up the intermediate league. The reason for this was simply to give all clubs more competitive football. The remaining seven teams then formed a very exciting junior league. Both Bredagh and Bally won their respective championships for the first time in their history. They represented the county in Ulster with both teams narrowly to the champions of Donegal/Cavan in the Quarter Finals.

For the record the clubs below played at the following grade in 2002.

Senior: Intermediate: Junior:

Iveagh Bosco Downpatrick Ballymartin

Bryansford Bright Clonduff

Castlewellan Tullylish Annaclone 11

Annaclone Loughinisland Aughlisnafin

Bredagh Burren Teconnaught

Ardglass St. Michaels

We had 5 clubs enter teams at U-16 level and with a further 10 clubs managing to make the grade for U-13 we had a full calendar of football which would cater for all age groups.

The leagues for some of the competitions have not yet been completed but at the time of going to print the roll of honour for the Down Ladies 2002 season was as follows:

Grade: League: Championship:

Senior Winner Bredagh

R-up Castlewellan

Iveagh Bosco

Intermediate Winner undecided Loughinisland

R-up Undecided Downpatrick

Junior Winner Ballymartin

R-up Annaclone 11


U-16 Winner Bryansford

U-13 Winner Bryansford

County Board:

A special word of thanks goes to all the people who make up our county board. Though small in number it is their efforts, which make it possible for ladies football to continue to flourish in our county. The work they do behind the scenes, the dedication and the personal time they give to the cause does not go unnoticed. We thank everyone for their commitment and continued support as we endeavour to take football in our county to a higher level.

County Scene:

Down entered an U-14 team this year and took them to Mullingar to take part in the All-Ireland Blitz. With only a few training sessions the girls performed magnificently. They showed the skill, which is abundant at this level in the county when they won two and narrowly lost two of their group matches, just losing out in advancing to the next round of the competition. A special word of thanks to John Haughey, Siobhan Burke and Francie Toner and everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this all possible.

The Down senior team under the guidance of new management Larry Duggan and Mark Clarke were less fortunate in 2002. Having lost the majority of the championship winning side of 2000 coupled with the fact that we were now graded as a senior side, the girls were always going to find the going tough at this grade. The management was faced with the difficult task of transitioning a very youthful looking Down side into a force which once again could be reckoned with. The national league campaign was a learning experience for all concerned. The results weren’t going Down’s way but the enthusiasm and the team bonding which is essential in moulding any side was obvious for all to see. At the time of going to print Down had won their first competitive fixture beating a strong Fermanagh in the first round of the ‘B’ Championship. This is a magnificent result for the girls, the management and the county. Hopefully Larry & Mark will be able to build on this and once again bring the good times back to Ladies football in Down.


We would like to thank everyone who supported us in 2002 especially ‘Wooden Floor Services’ sponsors of our senior league.


A word of thanks to all the papers for their coverage with special thanks to the following people: Paddy McEvoy (Mourne Observer), Matt Fitzpatrick (Down Recorder), Jerry Quinn (Outlook), and Jimmy Davis (Newry Reporter). Also to Pat O’Hare for the magnificent pictures he took over the past season.

St. Michael’s GFC Magheralin

At the time of writing it’s been a good year for St. Michael’s. The senior team is once again involved in end of year promotion issues, which hopefully will result in a long overdue return to Division Three.

But it could have all been so different. Having come so close in previous years the committee felt that with the young and emerging talent they had at their disposal the team was ready for a big push in the right direction. They knew that they needed a strong man at the helm to guide the team on to greater things. Paul McGlone, a former Armagh and St. Paul’s Lurgan player, was brought on board.

From the second week in January, with snow on the ground, Paul went about his duties with great gusto and enthusiasm. This in turn rubbed off on the players. Attendance at training was at an all time high.

Pre season games showed the rewards that could be gained from the intensive training sessions. But there is no substitute for competitive league and championship games and the club approached the season with great optimism.

All did not go according to plan and the Michael’s were unlucky to lose their first fixture away to Ardglass, although somewhat controversially. Better results were to follow, and come championship time the club was riding high at the top of their division, but their opponents Saul from Division 3 would be a tough nut to crack. In a tight game St. Michael’s emerged as winners by a point to go through to the next round where the learning curve would continue against Mitchel’s.

The game was all but over by half time as many of the younger members of the team froze. But in the second half, the team inspired by a virtuoso display by veteran Pat McDade, showed great heart to narrowly lose out by a couple of points to the eventual champions. Back to the league, and some great performances put the Michael’s in a very strong position. As in the past, old habits die hard, and losses away to Bright and Dundrum showed the price of complacency. This young team proved that they have the something extra that is required and rounded of the league campaign with a win away to St. Paul’s and a draw at home to Bright to secure the coveted play-off spot.

Regardless of what way the play-offs go, all credit must go to Paul and his young team. They have done the club proud. Again as in previous years all under age teams have amalgamated with Tullylish. They provide football to younger members of the club, who because of lack of numbers would not have had the opportunity.

The Sunday morning coaching for under 10’s continued, and numbers again were encouraging. Hopefully with the new housing developments in the area a few stars of the future will take up residence. While the senior team was working away, the reserves again narrowly missed out on glory in the league final, being beaten by a strong Clonduff outfit. Again it’s a very encouraging sign for the club when they can field two very competitive adult sides.

St. Michael’s Ladies G.F.C.

St. Michael’s Ladies G.F.C was formed in March 2001. The team was established after interest was shown in setting up a team to play in the Down ladies junior league.

To prepare, the team spent their first year playing friendlies and organised their own tournament, which to their credit they won. The team joined the junior league in 2001 and finished a very creditable 4th place. They were also unlucky in the championship at the semi-final stage to be beaten by Burren who went on to win the competition. The first year has been a learning experience for the girls and with that behind them they will approach the new season with confidence.

2003 – Down Ladies County Board AGM: –


The following officers were elected for the 2003 season at the Down Ladies AGM, which was held recently.

Cathaoirleach – Chairman

Gerry Campbell (Burren)

Leas Cathaoirleach – Vice Chairman

Paul Kelly (Downpatrick)

Cisteoir – Treasurer

Siobhan Morgan (Bryansford)

Runai – Secretary

Siobhan Burke (Bright)

Leas Runai – Assistant Secretary

Ciara Smyth (Bright)

Oifigeach Chaidreamh Poibli – P.R.O.

P.J. Cunningham (Ballymartin)

Oifigeach Gaelge agus Cultuir – Register

Paul Kelly (Downpatrick)

Ball Chomhairle Uladh – Delegates to Ulster Council

Gerry Campbell (Burren)

Down Ladies Football

Ladies football in Down continues to flourish at club level with more clubs than ever playing the game throughout the County. This year, four new clubs – Saval, Mayobridge, Rostrevor and Carryduff – competed at underage level acquitting themselves admirably as they took their first steps in the Ladies arena.

It was also a year of League and Championships double celebrations for Clonduff, Downpatrick and Castlewellan.

Leagues and Championships:

U-13: 11 clubs competing at U-13 Level – Ballymartin, Burren, Mayobridge, Saval, Rostrevor, Downpatrick, Castlewellan, Bryansford, Bredagh, Bright, Carryduff – but it was the newcomers from Saval who took top honours by lifting the first silverware of the season making club history in the process as they were crowned the U-13 Champions having overcome Burren in a very close encounter.

U-16: The U-16 league had 10 clubs vying for the honours, but Bryansford came of age securing the Championship by defeating Bright in a great game in Hilltown. Castlewellan however prevented their close neighbours and rivals Bryansford from doing the domestic double as they easily won the League final to make sure the League cup would rest once again at St. Malachy’s Pairc.

Junior: Clonduff ladies were the pacemakers in this division and they brought a League and Championship – defeating Teconnaught in the final – double to Hilltown. They also acquitted themselves well in Ulster, winning a preliminary round match against Termon from Donegal before going down narrowly to Faughanvale of Derry. Teconnaught have now clocked up their 2nd Championship final appearance in as many years without success but perhaps 2004 will be their year.

Intermediate: Downpatrick ladies have been knocking on the Intermediate championship door for quite some time but this year they finally made the breakthrough, beating local neighbours Bright in a fantastic game of football played in Ardglass. Downpatrick then added the league title for good measure. Unfortunately they bowed out of Ulster at the Q/F stage after coming up against a much-fancied Glen side from Derry, Bright, though disappointed in the Championship decider, did have some consolation by picking up the runners-up spot in this division.

Senior: The surprise of the Championship was undoubtedly Castlewellan who dethroned reigning champions Bredagh in a close affair in Downpatrick. Castlewellan were totally deserving of their win and at the time of writing they are awaiting their first expedition into Ulster since 1997. Bredagh were again to come second best in the league as they finished runners-up to the town girls.

County: The Down ladies, once again under the watchful eye of Larry Duggan and Mark Clarke showed glimpses of their true potential in their Ulster Senior Semi-final championship clash with Monaghan. Down were unlucky on the day and would have been good value for a very deserved win.

Most of Down’s hopes for success came firmly in the form of the Minor squad, most of whom have played at senior level, but they were well beaten by a very talented Cavan outfit.

All things said the girls in both panels played with great courage and the tradition which is greatly associated with Down teams at any level or grade was firmly enhanced by their displays.

Down U-14: For the 2nd year in a row Down entered a team at U-14 level. While the team competed very well, they were unfortunate not to take something from their trip to Mullingar. The talent at this level definitely augurs well for the future of Down ladies football.

Schools: Congratulations and commiserations to the Sacred Heart School, Newry who were defeated in the final of the U-19 All-Ireland ladies football championship by Dublin stalwarts Malahide, on a 6-3 to 2-3 score line.

Also, congratulations to Carrick PS Burren and the U-16 footballers of St. Mary’s Downpatrick. Carrick PS defeated Mayobridge in the annual County Down INTO Girls Seven football finals in St. Patrick’s pairc Newcastle, winning 2-03 to 1-00 while St. Mary’s reached the Ulster Final. They did the county proud and were unlucky to lose this very competitive final against St. Aidan’s Cootehill (Cavan) by 3 points on a final score line of 3-07 to 2-07.

A word of thanks:

Down Ladies would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, referees, committee members and those who work so hard behind the scenes to ensure that Ladies football in Down continues to develop in the professional manner we have become accustomed to.

Thanks to Clonduff, Kilcoo, Downpatrick and Ardglass for the use of their grounds for the club finals and to all the clubs who made their facilities available to the county teams for training.

Finally, thanks to the journalists and photographers for the excellent coverage they have given us in 2003. It is very much appreciated and helps enormously in our task of promoting the game in Down.

Saval GAC

Unbeaten Year for Saval Girls

Words: Edmond Lennon

Photos: Tony Bagnel

In the U-13 All-County League Saval were in the same section as Burren, Mayobridge, Ballymartin and Rostrevor. The team came through this section undefeated and played Belfast club Bredagh in the semi-final. Victory in that game set up a league final with Burren who had defeated Bryansford in the other semi-final. After a thrilling final match, Saval came out on top by 4 points.


Saval were fortunate to be invited to a number of tournaments through the summer and the team had the remarkable record of remaining undefeated. As part of the Fiddler’s Green Festival, Saval beat Burren in the final of the ‘Rostrevor Girls’ Gaelic U-13 Tournament’. The team then won the May Steele Memorial Cup at the ‘Castlewellan Tournament’, defeating Bryansford in the final. Saval’s Natasha Lennon was nominated Player of the Tournament.

At their home ‘Saval Tournament’ they defeated Armagh side Dromintee and followed this up by defeating Mayobridge in the ‘Mayobridge Tournament’.

In the Burren All County Tournament Saval played six games to get to the final. There they met Bryansford and defeated them by seven points. Saval’s Lorraine Havern was named Player of the Tournament.

Throughout this, their first season, the team played 29 games and remained all undefeated. It is remarkable to note that only five of the girls on the team had played Gaelic before this season – a fact that makes their season all the more successful.

Saval Girls U-13 Panel:

Christine McCarthy, Anna Madine, Grace Cole, Louise McEvoy, Rachel Havern, Leanne Redmond, Natasha Millar, Claudia Cole, Niamh Magowan, Natasha Lennon, Lorraine Havern, Catherine Digney, Jacqueline Crozier, Eimear Digney, Colleen Lennon, Eimear Kane, Laura Jayne Hehir, Adele Travers, Natasha Sands, Annie Havern, Stephanie Hillen, Laura McAteer, Caoimhe Tumilty, Ashling Bagnall, Ashling McMahon.

Managers: Edward Lennon and John McCarthy.

Downpatrick GAC

Words: Jim Meegan

Photos: Chris Halpin

The earliest record of a GAA team in Downpatrick was on 7th February 1896, when the team was known as Clann Na nGael. In 1945 the name was changed to Russell Gaelic Union, taking its name from the famous United Irishman Thomas Russell. This year the club marked the bi-centenary of his execution by hosting a cultural weekend based on the life and times of “The man from God knows where”. Events included a lecture, a play, an Irish Music night and a Wreath laying service at his graveside.

Ladies football was introduced to the club 5 years ago when there was a major decline in interest for Camogie. Today the club fields teams at all levels. RGU Ladies commenced 2003 on the back of winning the Intermediate League and Runners up in the Championship. Due to the structure of providing more games, the senior and intermediate teams played each other once and the results decided placings for the respective leagues.

RGU Ladies commenced their defence of the Intermediate League, playing on a home and away basis, against Ballymartin, Bright, Burren and Loughinisland. This was an exceptionally good league and RGU Ladies won their third League Cup without a defeat. RGU, beaten finalists in 2001 and 2002, came of age in 2003 when they finally got their hands on the Ladies Intermediate championship crown. It wasn’t easy as Downpatrick were made to fight every inch of the way by a gallant Bright outfit. There were no pre-wedding nerves from bride to be Olivia Gilchrist, scoring 2-1 in the game. Olivia married Conail Keown the following day. Result RGU 4-7, Bright 2-8. Success wasn’t easy to achieve in Ulster for the Ladies against Watty Graham’s Glenn, Co. Derry, played on Sunday 21st September at Pairc Thomas Ruiseil. Excitement, a missed penalty, a disallowed goal, injuries, and great supporters contributed to a tremendous game of football, resulting unfortunately in a defeat for the RGU Ladies 3-6, Glenn 4-16.

The U-16’s reached the semi final of the league, and were narrowly beaten by Castlewellan. These young ladies are looking forward to developing their skills next year. Ladies RGU U-13’s section started this year by learning and developing their skill under coach Michelle Clancy. The development of this section is resulting in approximately 32 young players attending each training session. The RGU Ladies also contributed to the Senior County panel, with Kyla Trainor and Eilis McConville playing for Down, with a championship match against Monaghan at Clones before the Down/Tyrone replay. Also involved at minor county level were Kyla Trainor, Eilis McConville, Jenny Fitzsimmons and Ruth Kelly. RGU Ladies, Anna Newman, Clara Keenan, Orla McNeill were also involved at U-14 county level.

Clonduff Ladies Gaelic Football

Words: Anita Brannigan

Ladies football in Clonduff only began towards the end of the 2001 season with training beginning in earnest for the 2002 season with a panel of 25 girls.

In its first season Clonduff finished joint third in Junior League and lost in the Championship the to the eventual winners, Ballymartin.

34 girls took to the field for training in early January for the 2003 season under the watchful eyes of team mentors John Anthony Gribben, Johnny McAleavy, Stephen Brannigan and Austin Ward. Commitment remained high throughout the year with an average of 25 attending training and matches. The levels of skill and fitness have come a long way and this is reflected in the fact that the team remained undefeated in this years Junior League.

The crowning glory however was the County Junior Championship title – a very one-sided affair with Clonduff overcoming Teconnaught on a score line of 4-17 to 0-3! Next up was the Ulster Series. Clonduff were drawn at home to Donegal Champions Termon in the preliminary round. In a highly entertaining game, the home side came from four points behind at half time to make the next round with a four point winning margin.

The draw for the next round again favoured Clonduff with a home tie, this time against Derry champions Faughanvale. Again Clonduff found themselves trailing at the interval but unfortunately they could not turn this one around, losing by 3 points!

2003 was truly a great season for Ladies football in Clonduff. Their success at junior level means they now move up a – in the League that may mean Senior!


Down Ladies Presentation Night

Down Ladies Presentation Night:

The Down Ladies gathered in great numbers in Newry on Friday night for their presentation & awards ceremony. Upwards of 180 people were representing the proved to be the most successful awards night in recent years.

Down Ladies Chairman Paul Kelly got the proceedings under way by thanking their continued support, his dedicated committee, the referee’s, county team sponsors for all they had done to help promote the ladies game in 2004. With over, it was time for the successful clubs of 2004 to come forward and receive. It was a case of double celebrations for Loughinisland and Bosco as they lifted and championship trophies in their respective competitions.

The roll of honour for 2004 was as follows:

U-14 League: Saval, Runner-up: Bryansford

U-16 Championship: Bryansford, Runner-up: Castlewellan

U-16 League: Winners Castlewellan, Runner-up: Saval

Junior League: Tullylish, Runner-up: Ardglass

Junior Championship: Aughlisnafin, Runner-up: Tullylish

Intermediate League: Loughinisland, Runner-up: Clonduff

Intermediate Championship: Loughinisland, Runner-up: Clonduff

Senior League: Bosco, Runner-up: Castlewellan

Senior Championship: Bosco, Runner-up: Castlewellan

The County U-16 and U-14 teams were also very successful in 2004. The U-14’ Blitz earlier in the year and they all received their medals on the night. Captain received the shield on behalf of her teammates. The U-16’s not to be outdone Kearns shield and it was left to Kyla Trainor to lift the Trudi Kearns shield of her teammates.

The Down Ladies County Board paid special thanks to the outgoing county McGrath and Declan Larkin along with Conor Laverty for all the effort they had respective teams in 2004.

As always our referee’s contribution to our game does not go unnoticed and as gratitude a special award was made to the referee’s who officiated at our league championship finals.

U-14 League Final: Peter McClorey

U-16 League Final: Lawrence Murphy

U-16 C’ship Final: James McGuinness

Junior C’ship Final: Shane Walsh

Inter C’ship Final: Gavin Corrigan

Senior C’ship Final: Eamon McElroy

Finally, well-known Saul referee Lawrence Murphy brought to fruition an development in 2004 with the inauguration of the ‘Family Murphy Saul Memory will be presented to the Senior Ladies Player of the year. The first recipient of the Eleanor Nixon (Castlewellan) for her outstanding display in the recent Senior C. This cup is in memory of Lawrence’s son who died quite tragically. Lawrence’s Eleanor with a beautiful piece of Waterford Crystal to mark the occasion.

2004 has been a good year for ladies football in Down. With the instigation of squads and with the abundance of talent available in the county, it is only a mat before the red and black of Down once again grace the sods of Croke Pairc.

****The Down Ladies get their NFL campaign under way on Sunday November home match against Monaghan ‘B’. The Time and Venue have yet to be decided for details. All support would be greatly appreciated.

P.J. Cunningham

(Down Ladies PRO)

Election of New Officers for Ladies Board

The following Officers were elected at the Down Ladies AGM for the 2005 Season:

Chairman: Paul Kelly (Downpatrick)

Vice Chairman: John McCarthy (Saval)

Secretary: Francie Toner (Bright)

Assistant Secretary: Julie Donaghy (Annaclone)

Treasurer: Siobhan Morgan (Bryansford)

Assistant Treasurer: Siobhan Burke (Bright)

P.R.O.: Helen Rice (Loughinisland)

Registrar: Siobhan Burke (Bright)

Delegates to Ulster Council: Paul Kelly (Downpatrick) & John McCarthy (Saval)

County Liaison Officer: Siobhan Morgan (Bryansford)

Fixtures Secretary: Lorraine McCaffrey (Bredagh)

Child Protection Officer: Francie Toner (Bright)

Down Ladies Football

2004 has proved to be the best year yet for Ladies football in Down. Of the 44 GAA Clubs in the County, 22 are now fielding a ladies team at some level. The Down Ladies County board restructured the league formats at all levels with the biggest change coming at under-age where the number of teams rose dramatically.

The emphasis on youth can only augur well for the future, not only for Club football in Down but it should provide a steady stream of talented players capable of wearing the county jersey with pride.

Around the Leagues:


The U-16 league almost doubled in size in 2004 with 16 clubs now fielding at this level. Again the leagues were played out over two 8-team sections with the top 2 from each section making up the semi-finals. Castlewellan, winners in 2003, came up against a vibrant Saval side in the final. They however had enough in the tank to reclaim their title on a 1-10 to 2-04 score line.

Clubs represented at this level: Annaclone, Ballymartin, Clonduff, Burren, Saval, Rostrevor, Downpatrick, Castlewellan, Bryansford, Bredagh, Bright, Carryduff, Shamrocks, Ardglass, Loughinisland, Aughlisnafin.


The U-16 league almost doubled in size in 2004 with 16 clubs now fielding at this level. Again the leagues were played out over two 8-team sections with the top 2 from each section making up the semi-finals. Castlewellan winners in 2003 came up against a vibrant Saval side in the final. They however had enough in the tank to reclaim their title on a 1-10 to 2-04 score-line.

Clubs represented at this level: Annaclone, Ballymartin, Clonduff, Burren, Saval, Rostrevor, Downpatrick, Castlewellan, Bryansford, Bredagh, Bright, Carryduff, Shamrocks, Ardglass, Loughinisland, Aughlisnafin.


This was the closest junior league in years as Ardglass and Tullylish battled it out for the title and automatic promotion to the Intermediate division. Ardglass, who led the league for so long, were to be denied at the death as Tullylish came good in the last half of the season to pip them at the post. We also welcomed Saval, Shamrocks & Carryduff as they took the step up to Senior Football.

Clubs represented at this level: Tullylish, Ardglass, Saval, Shamrocks, Teconnaught, Carryduff and St. Michael’s.


Loughinisland were the favourites in this division but they had things far from easy as they were made to battle all the way by Clonduff and Ballymartin. Their experience told in the end as they scraped home in the final game of the season to clinch the title from Clonduff. Loughinisland now move up to Senior ranks and Aughlisnafin make the drop back to junior football. The Fin will have enjoyed their stay in the intermediate league and they by no means looked out of their depth. They will be expected to make a quick return.

Clubs represented at this level: Loughinisland, Clonduff, Ballymartin, Bright, Burren and Aughlisnafin.


It was all about Bosco in 2004 as they firmly put down a marker to the rest of the county that they were back after a few lean years in the football wilderness. They never really looked troubled as they picked up the league cup, with Castlewellan (winners in 2003) finishing in 2nd spot. Bosco may have been the champions but Annaclone will make the drop to the intermediate league as they look to re-build for another crack at the top level.

Clubs represented at this level: Bosco, Castlewellan, Bredagh, Bryansford, Downpatrick and Annaclone.

Championship Round up:

Aughlisnafin took the Junior Championship by storm in 2004, defeating Saval & Ardglass en route to the final. In the end they proved too strong for Tullylish, winning an exciting final 2-11 to 0-04 in Pairc Esler.

Loughinisland were favourites for the intermediate title but they were pushed all the way by a rampant Clonduff (Junior Champions 2003) outfit. They did just enough to complete the domestic double on a score of 1-12 to 1-10.

The senior final brought together Bosco and Castlewellan. Castlewellan’s game plan of moving the ball early was proving successful, as they tore through the Bosco rear-guard time and again. However some wasteful shooting denied them a famous victory, with Bosco managing to hold out to complete the senior league and championship double.

Ulster has not proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Down representatives. Aughlisnafin’s Ulster ambitions were dealt a cruel blow by Brookeborough (Fermanagh) as they lost 2-12 to 2-06 and Loughinisland were well beaten by Armagh champions Crossmaglen 7-19 to 0-02. Bosco were the last hope but their Ulster Semi-Final meeting with Carrickmore (Tyrone) didn’t go to plan and they too bowed out of Ulster on a score of 1-08 to 0-14 in a match they should really have won.

County – Senior:

The Down Ladies were under new management in 2004 with Tommy McGrath and Declan Larkin at the reins. In NFL Division 3B they battled through to the semi-finals with wins over Derry, Antrim and KerryB before bowing out to a strong Wexford side.

The championship campaign was a changed format from previous years as it was run on a round robin league basis with Down facing Tyrone, Monaghan and Donegal in as many weeks. Although Down didn’t manage a win in any of their Championship games they did wear the Down Jersey with considerable pride. Tommy and Declan would like to take this opportunity to thank the senior county players, the Down ladies chairperson and committee for all their support. Unfortunately due to personal commitments both these men will be unavailable for the 2004/05 season.

On behalf of the Down county board they are sincerely thanked for all their time, effort and the professionalism they brought to the Down ladies set-up.

County – Minor

The Minor team had an unsuccessful Championship campaign, falling quite heavily to Tyrone, but again like their senior counterparts they can hold their heads high, given their efforts in 2004.

County U-16

The U-16 panel came together in July with their first competitive action coming in the form of the Trudy Kearns Shield in early August. The long trip to Truagh, County Monaghan was well worthwhile as they successfully picked up the memorial shield after 3 great battles against Fermanagh, Antrim and Armagh.

Thanks again to mentors Noel Haughey, Michaela Downey and John McCarthy.

County U-14:

Conor Laverty and Catherine McConville were the mentors in 2004 and they had a cracking panel available to them. A successful campaign in an inter-county tournament brought home the first piece of silverware in the form of the Ulster U-14 Blitz held in Aughnacloy. They were unfortunate to lose out to Tyrone in their Ulster Championship semi-final but on a brighter note for this young squad, to date they are still undefeated in the numerous challenge matches they have played.


Due to the continued success of our sport the demand for referees became paramount in our future development. With this in mind the Down Ladies County Board recruited 14 new referees whose responsibility was to referee our U-14 club matches. For the most part this has proved quite successful with only minor teething problems. 2005 should see even more teams take the field of play and therefore the need to recruit additional referees will become even greater; so if there are any budding Pat McAneaney’s out there, watch out for training courses coming near you in 2005.


Cumann Peil Gael na Mban, An Dun, were delighted to announce a number of new developments for Ladies Football in 2004. The Down Ladies County Board agreed an exciting deal with Newry based business, ‘Around-a-Pound’ to sponsor the Down Ladies Senior team for the next three years. In addition to this, they have also launched a new-style County jersey in conjunction with O’Neill’s Sports. In what is a first for Ladies Football in Ulster, the jersey will be going on sale in O’Neill’s Sport stores in Newry and Belfast.

A word of thanks:

Down Ladies would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, referees, committee members and those who work so hard behind the scenes to ensure that Ladies football in our county continues to develop in the professional manner we have become accustomed to.

Thanks to Clonduff and Newry Shamrocks for the use of their grounds for our club finals and to all the clubs who made their facilities available to our county teams for training.

A special deed of gratitude is extended to the Theiraforth Inn Kilcoo for the use of their premises for our monthly committee meetings.

Finally thanks to the journalists and photographers for the excellent coverage they have given us in 2004, it was very much appreciated and helps enormously in our task of promoting the game in Down.

Frank McDonald

Frank McDonald has been a great servant of Gaelic Games. The popular teacher, who works at Newry’s Sacred Heart Grammar School is undoubtedly one of the most admired referees in county Down and indeed one of the few Mourne men who also officiates in Armagh. Furthermore Frank does the business in both football and hurling and if that wasn’t enough Frank was a top soccer referee and a boxing judge.

I’ve rarely talked to a player who wasn’t delighted to see the big man taking charge on the park as it can be guaranteed that he will referee fairly and with a minimum of fuss. He often quells potential trouble with a quiet word – or in some cases a humorous quip. But he is always in charge … and the players know it.

Currently Frank is referee co-ordinator in County Down but he has many other strings to his bow. In the present season he guided (along with Simon Burke) the Bosco Ladies to Down senior league and Championship double and is coach to the underage teams at the Sacred Heart Grammar School.

In the recent past he was Chairman of Crossmaglen Ladies Gaelic Football Club, was coach to the same Crossmaglen Ladies Gaelic football senior team and was Treasurer of Armagh Ladies County Board. Indeed his list of accomplishments could be the subject of a book.

As a young man he played Gaelic football for St. John Bosco and a few years ago, at a gala function at the Carrickdale Hotel, he was selected on the greatest Bosco team of all time. By the way all Frank’s seven brothers have also played for the Bosco: Pat, Gerard, Declan, Colm, Martin, Joseph, and Terry.

Bryansford GAC

Second Successful year for U16 Girls

Words: Michael McCartan

Photos: Mourne Observer

This was an interesting year for Bryansford GAC. Following the installation of floodlights around the main pitch, games can now be played at night. First to benefit however, were the county senior teams, with both footballers and hurlers training under the lights, rather than having to venture indoors. A number of club championship and play-off games also discovered the value of the floodlights, enabling games to be played midweek and on Friday nights, alleviating a very congested fixture list. Comments from supporters of the various clubs that were involved in the floodlit games proved to be favourable.

With the new season dawning, all expectations at Bryansford were directed to the senior team and how they would fare in the league and Championship. Injuries to key players and the eviction from their home pitch at St. Patrick’s Park due to ground maintenance sought to inflict difficulties not only on the senior but on all the adult and minor teams.

The first seventeen games of the senior calendar had to be played ‘away’ from home and when finally the pitch opened in August, Bryansford had already made a surprising exit from the Senior Championship.

It didn’t help matters having to face title chasers Kilcoo a week later, in the first senior game on the new pitch while the club was still depressed by the early championship defeat!

Thanks go to Castlewellan and Downpatrick for the use of their facilities while St. Patrick’s Park was unavailable.

The underage teams enjoyed reasonable success with the boys and girls pushing for league and championship honours. The Under 14 girls just lost out in the league play-off to Saval after completing the season unbeaten. Seven of the girls were accorded the honour of representing the county at this age level.

The Under 16 girls won their Championship for the second successive year, beating local rivals Castlewellan in the final. No less than eight team members were selected for the county panel. It is hoped to have an Under 12 team competing in the near future.

In boys football the Under 10’s participated in several tournaments through the year and achieved some success returning home with medals on a few occasions. The Under 12’s lost just once in their league section and fell to Downpatrick in the play-off for a place in the league final. An impressive run in the championship saw the boys dispose of Carryduff and Castlewellan only to lose to an excellent Kilcoo side in the East Down final.

The under 14’s blazed a trail through their league losing only to Downpatrick in the play-off section. Redemption was at hand when they took revenge over the Hoops in the league final. In the Championship the boys were magnificent in dispensing with favourites Kilcoo in the semi-final but by their own admission failed to perform in the East Down Final and lost out to Downpatrick by three points.

This year saw a rejuvenated Juvenile Committee intensify their efforts in underage football. A coaching camp was held in August attended by over 120 children under the age of 14. An ongoing programme will see more qualified coaches within the Club and greater coaching links are being established with the local primary schools. It is hoped that these efforts will not only promote Gaelic games but as a spin-off will also benefit Bryansford G.A.C. in building a strong foundation for the future. So a special thanks to all underage managers, coaches and assistants, past and present, for their hard work in ensuring this famous club may continue be successful in the years to come.

Ladies Football

Senior Ladies

Another historic Club milestone was reached in early May when the first senior ladies team took the field against Newry Shamrocks in Newry.

Defeats to Saval, Ardglass, Teconnaught and Tullylish followed before the girls got their first win of the season with a fantastic 6-05 to 2-01 victory over Teconnaught. A 2-07 to 1-09 friendly win over Glenavy meant the girls finished off the season on a high. With this being a very young squad, great hope can be taken for the years to come.

U16 Ladies

The U16’s are rapidly improving from last season, which was their first. Their league campaign got off with a loss to local rivals Bredagh followed by a loss to Ardglass. A comfortable win against Aughlisnafin got the girls off the mark. Loughinisland beat them in the league but revenge was gained with a 1-07 to 0-03 Championship win. Unfortunately a defeat against Bright in the next round put paid to their Championship ambitions for another year.

U14 Ladies

The U14 Ladies season saw a big improvement from the year before. After getting off to a bad start with a big loss to Bryansford, they recovered brilliantly to beat Downpatrick in the next game by 14 points. They then lost to Castlewellan before beating Bright and drawing with Bredagh. Revenge was gained on Castlewellan but then they lost to Bredagh. Wins against Bright and Downpatrick and a loss to Bryansford saw them finish the season in a respectable league position. The highlight of their season must have been their runners-up spot in the Coalisland tournament. It was extra special in that they picked up the first trophy for Carryduff ladies.

U12 Ladies

The U12 panel weren’t involved in any leagues this year but played in the Castlewellan tournament, and what a success that was. The girls returned home with Carryduff Ladies first winners’ trophy after winning the shield section of the tournament.

Loughinisland Ladies GFC

Singing’ the Blues!

Words: Lisa Toman

Photos: Mourne Observer

Loughinisland Ladies have enjoyed much success over the last eight years and 2004 proved to be a year to remember. Under the watchful eye of their dedicated management, Martin Keenan and Joe Rice, the ladies achieved the illustrious league and Championship ‘Double’. This splendid success can be attributed to a combination of hard winter training, commitment and an overwhelming unified desire for success.

The Blues played some outstanding football in the intermediate league, combining youth with experience to produce some thrilling and hard fought fixtures no less than the end of season match with Clonduff Ladies, which typified Loughinisland’s endless team work ethos.

The intermediate championship first saw the blues overcome a well drilled Burren side where they produced some classy, cohesive attacking football which was to stand them in good stead for their final against Clonduff Ladies.

4th September, Pairc Esler was the setting for this exciting, heart stopping encounter. This match had it all, thrills, spills and lots and lots of sunshine. Played on undoubtedly the hottest day we have seen this summer, L’island ladies turned round a seven point deficit to run out two point winners in a true team performance that radiated the commitment and sheer determination which has been the backbone of this team all season and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of their management.

Unfortunately the only disappointment of the sporting calendar for the ‘island girls was their devastating defeat in the Ulster championship by Armagh champions, Crossmaglen. The blues were taught a harsh lesson in having the benefit of a 30 strong senior panel, many of which are regulars in the Armagh senior Ladies squad recently defeated by Kildare in the Ladies all Ireland Semi Finals.

This defeat however shouldn’t deflect from the achievement the girls have attained this year. Rather, this uncompromising defeat will provide them with invaluable experience to take with them into the senior championship next season, providing them with a sneak preview of what they can aspire to be as they achieve more experience in the Senior league next year.

Finally, 2004 saw the introduction of the first ladies U’16 team in Loughinisland. This young squad have many years together ahead of them to try and emulate the success of their senior counterparts, of which I have no doubt they will. Having had the privilege of co-managing these young ladies in their first season and having experienced first hand, the jubilation of their first league win I have no doubt that many more trophies and titles will be won by the Loughinisland Senior Ladies of the future.

So what does 2005 hold for Loughinisland Ladies? Well, as a result of their successful league campaign, the girls will be playing in the senior league. It will be an uphill battle to remain in top-flight contention but it is a challenge that these ladies are more than capable of applying themselves to achieving.

Successful Year for Saval Ladies

2004 has been a very successful year for ladies football in Saval and the playing feats of the girls in the under-12, under-14, under-16, and Junior teams augurs very well for the future of the club.

Under 12

The Under 12 team, under the management of Edmund Lennon and John McCarthy, won the prestigious May Steele Tournament in Castlewellan for the second year running.

Under 14

The Under 14 side, again under Edmund and John’s management won the Down League for the second year in succession. Earlier in the year they won through to the All Ireland Feile Final in Omagh, only to be narrowly beaten by a strong Armagh side.

Under 16

The Under 16 side, managed by Anthony Crozier, Damien Lennon and Barry Havern had a very successful season going all the way to the league final. In the final the play was full of excitement and at the final whistle Saval went down by just 2 points to Castlewellan. Despite the obvious disappointment of losing a final, the girls can take great credit from the game and can be proud of what they achieved this season. This is still a young team with 21 out of the panel of 24 all eligible again next year.


It was also a very pleasing and good season for the junior side who were playing at this level of football for the first time. Although a young side, the panel contained a lot of talent and were able to compete with the more established teams. At the conclusion of the league programme the Saval girls did themselves great honour by finishing third in the league, having won seven, drawn two and lost three of their twelve match programme.

The management of Anthony Crozier and Damien Lennon must be well pleased at the displays of their team and can certainly look forward to further progress next year.

Down Stars

The following players have represented Saval club at county level this year –

Under 14 – Christine McCarthy, Grace Cole, Niamh McGowan, Niamh Millar, Natasha Lennon, Rachel O’Hare and Lorraine Havern.

Under 16 – Aine Crozier, and Vicki Lennon.

Minor – Seannine Hanna and Aideen Collins.

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