Ulster G4M&O - A Wonderful Sight!

“A wonderful sight to behold.”

Saturday 1st July 2017, the date for this year’s Ulster Gaelic4Mothers and Others football Blitz.
It was early morn when the crowds from an array of clubs and many corners of Ulster began to descend on host club Saval and their G4M&O team in Co Down who had the honour and task of organising the event this year.
The foundations for this wonderful day of football and fun had been laid in the preceding weeks with the expert organisation of Ciaran Murtagh, Ulster Ladies Development Officer and the ever-efficient Anthony Crozier at the helm of Saval’s G4M&O teams who are the 2017 “Host Club”.

The day dawned bright and cloud free. We realised that even with the best of plans the weather bit was in the hands of the Gods.
The cars and buses began to arrive and very soon the whole club indoors and out came to life. Women of all ages, mothers, grannies, children and partners, supporters in tow, proudly wearing their team and club colours, chattering, excited and looking forward to their day “out on the pitch”.

There were hugs and hellos among those that had in previous times togged out against each other, were friendships and camaraderie has grown on and off the pitch. There were welcomes to those like Aghaderg, Silverbridge, and Carryduff who are relatively new to this wonderful initiative.

Wonder and anticipation was in the air regarding who would be playing whom and would their team manage a few wins, even when we know fine well G4M&O is non-competitive and there is no score keeping. Officially anyhow!

As “throw-in “beckoned, the staring referees checked their whistles were in good working order and that they had their note book and pen to hand before taking up position on the well organised pitch lay out. The teams section programme and rule guidance for the day ensured everyone knew where their pitch was and who would be playing who, in most instances this allayed any anxiety for teams or individuals that the enormity of this Ulster blitz and mighty occasion may have created.
Nonetheless there were a few,” Oh no’s”, ” Not you again”,” was hoping you had retired “and out loud “wonder what they’re like”, all in good spirit of course!

The array of team colours and jerseys were a sight to behold .The black and amber of Glenn, red and white of Carrickcruppen and Aghaderg .St Brigid’s pink, blue and white. Forty shades of green including Saval, Kickhams and Drumragh or the Wolfe Tone green and pink, Bosco blue and yellow .Bredagh,Lissan and St John’s adding to the colour collage as every last player played their part, putting into practice the learning and skills developed in their training sessions back at their club and for some In previous games and blitzes. The Glenelly girls were missed and the few other teams unable to make the great occasion.

There were balls kicked high, balls kicked wide, ankles accidentally kicked when too much zealous applied. There was also wonderful high fielding, good skill and fitness levels and some spectacular points and goals the likes that Bernard Brogan would have been proud to have been on the delivering end of. There was laughter and playful teasing of opponent in an effort to “put them off”, There was chatting and catching up for some when the ball was far pitch end. Everybody got a chance; everybody played a part, everyone’s contribution valued.

Van Morrison’s song title “There’ll be days like this” captures what it’s all about for all the ladies and mentors involved and playing under the auspices of G4M&O’s.

As pitch proceeding drew to a close with no “sin bins” and not a yellow card in sight, Fearghal O Luaois, Saval’s G4MO official photographer had ensured that all that was good about this Ulster Blitz and G4MO in general was captured on camera, action, determination, smiles, laughter and immense pride.

The rewards for all the effort of the day lay in wait in the club. A feast to match that delivered on the pitch welcomed one and all. Opportunity to reflect on the day, the blitz itself and up and coming G4M&O dates and occasions, new networks developed and promises of a friendly game in the coming months allowed all to further savour their individual team and club efforts and contribution.
As the chairs were stacked, floors swept, crockery clattered and the club building returned to its original state the consensus was that the day had been a great success.

This was “Our Day”.
A day that demonstrates the qualities at the heart of Gaelic4Mothers&Others, fun, inclusive participation, social, learning new skills of our game, etc. Activity that gets such an enthusiastic mass of women involved in physical activity has benefits far reaching beyond the football out on the pitch. This day showcases just what a phenomenon G4M&O in Ulster has become and is confirmation of its importance within the LGFA organisation. As the title states “A wonderful sight to behold”.

May the G4M&O’s initiative continue to grow, reaching out and involving those that wish to enjoy playing football and most importantly in integrating them as a valued and active part of their Club and community.

Imelda Fearon, Saval G4MO. Events reporter.

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