The event was held at the Woodlands house hotel in County Limerick
The Limerick Underage (Limerick LGFA) 2018 season kicked off with a bang on Monday night with the launch of their underage county Gaelic Football programme at the Fitzgerald Woodlands Hotel in Adare. Over 80 girls accompanied by parents, families and friends joined the new Limerick LGFA management teams as they unveiled plans for the new season ahead.
Limerick LGFA were privileged to be joined by guest speakers and Senior Gaelic Football Intercounty All Stars: Fiona McHale (Mayo) and Lorraine Scanlon (Kerry). Fiona and Lorraine spoke to the new Limerick underage players about their Gaelic Footballing journey, from underage development right up to today where they retain invaluable senior roles with their respective clubs and counties.
The new Limerick girls were left ‘in awe’ of Fiona and Lorraine, as the experienced players outlined their successes and failures along their Gaelic Football journey, overcoming lots of individual and team disappointments along the way.
Mayo All Star Fiona McHale spoke of her memories being called up to the Mayo squad and how excited she was to be part of something special. She highlighted the distractions along the way (including alcohol, drugs, over socialising etc.), that could have distorted her county journey but looking back Fiona has no regrets in maintaining a football focus right through her Mayo footballing career. Fiona highlighted how the young girls from Limerick are in such a privileged position with a professional structure in underage development. She believes in a work life balance and giving time to friends as well as academic and sporting activity. She also advocates the role of women in today’s modern game and calls on more women to get involved in coaching, even on men’s teams.
Kerry All-Star and O’Connor Cup winner Lorraine Scanlon Kerry (of Castleisland Desmonds), has served Kerry with distinction for many years and has also won 4 Munster senior championship medals. Lorraine spoke of her early days playing football and practicing soloing and other skills in the kitchen. She comes from a wealth of football in Kerry however Lorraine continues to search for another All Ireland title today as she tries to emulate her mother Mary Scanlon’s achievements having won five All-Ireland medals as a member of the all-conquering Kerry ladies senior football team of the 1980s. Again, Lorraine highlighted to the girls the importance of work ethic, maintaining focus and commitment with a strong mental strength in overcoming disappointments along the way but the rewards at the end are unmeasurable. Whatever about the success on the pitch, most importantly the girls would build an unbreakable team spirit and bond with lifelong friendships that could not be taken away from them.
As the evening progressed, Pat Madigan, Limerick LGFA’s Underage Development Coordinator gave a short presentation on some research carried out last July by LFGA’s main sponsors LIDL, on ‘Young Women and Team Sport’.
The findings showed a worrying trend of 1 in 2 young women give up team sports completely by the age of 13 and girls are three times more likely than boys to drop out of team sports at an early age. Despite this, most of the research findings were very positive for girls who continue to play sports with most girls saying that they have gained lifelong friendships from participating in team sports and playing team sports has a positive effect on girls’ self-confidence and mental wellbeing.
Speaking at the event, Pat Madigan, Limerick LGFA’s Underage Development Coordinator said there is a lot to be positive about:
“The increase in popularity of Ladies Gaelic football in Limerick is reflective of our national growth in participation in the sport and a steady increase in audience attendance over the last number of years. For example, supporter attendances to the senior All-Ireland Final last September in Croke Park (between Dublin and Mayo) broke all Irish and European attendance records to any women’s major sporting final in 2017. Coupled with TV viewing figures averaging over 300,000 and peaking to over 500,000 viewers at one point to TG4 on All Ireland Final Sunday, proves that the sport is now one of the fastest growing team sports in Ireland and Europe.
“As a proud, traditional sporting county, Limerick will not be left behind in Ladies Gaelic Football and all stops have been pulled out at grass roots level, to ensure that the Limerick team today will compete at National level in years to come”.
The Limerick LGFA underage development programme has been on a long but hugely positive development journey (from last October to where we are today in January). With over 250 girls (from 16 out of 23 clubs across the city and county from under 13,14 and under 16 age groups) participating on a seven-week development programme, followed up with the same numbers again trialing for their beloved proud sporting county, the staggering growth and hunger for Ladies Gaelic Football in Limerick is very evident.
For more information on Limerick LGFA visit:
Under 14 County Panel: Rachel Donnellan, Ella O Connor, Shonagh Murphy, Laoise Browne, Chloe Naughton, Saoirse McCarthy, Ciara O Keefe, Ele Madigan, Sarah Jane Flynn, Katie Buckley, Rianna Wallace, Kate Hennessy, Ella Tobin, Shona Tierney, Emily O’Halloran, Aoife Purcell, Ellie Woulfe, Molly Hussey, Grace O’Connor, Saoirse Fitzgerald, Monica Sheehan, Arlene Brosnan, Lauren Magill, Sophie Naughton, Caoimhe Butler, Molly Hyland, Ciara Oliver, Eadaoin Rowsome, Ciara McNamara, Ciara Keaveney, Kaylin O’Connor, Sarah Butler, Emma Kett, Ella Ryan, Ava Horgan, Ella Doyle, Ella Mason, Sarah Dillon, Aisling Farrell and Maria Campbell. Management Team: Breda Ahern, Pat Madigan, Fiona Oliver, Bill Hennessy, Kieran O’Keeffe, John Wallace and Mark Purcell.
Under 13 County Panel: Grace Leaden, Sinead McGuinness, Orla Ryan, Alex Russell, Paula Ahern, Leah Quane, Meave Heenan, Leah Geary, Ava Neville, Roisin Flaherty, Naimh Brennan, Megan Reidy, Hannah Brennan, Molly O Brien, Emer Conroy, Kate Feasy, Abbie Cullinane, Lucy O Brien, Olivia Meehan, Ava Baynham, Eimear Bourke, Lilly Duggan, Caoimhe Smith, Ciara McAuliffe, Michaela Cumes, Aine Cleary, Caoimhe Macnamara, Ciara Ryan, Aine Quinlan, Breanna Carew, Ava Carew, Aoibhin Murphy, Grace Purcell, Ciara Ryan, Aoibh Hayes, Clare Kiely, Fifi McCarthy, Sarah Blade, Ciara Neenan and Chloe Breen. Management Team: John Macnamara, Breda McGuinness, Malachy Carew, John Quain and Susan Leaden.
Under 16 Management Team: Ken Beirne, Dan Larkin, Ciara Mann and Michael Herbert
Pictures accredited to Mark Tobin Photography on behalf of Limerick LGFA.
Notes to editor
In 2004, Fiona McHale joined up with a Mayo team that had won four of the previous five All-Ireland titles. After a disappointing defeat to Dublin in this year’s Senior All Ireland Final, Fiona still continues to search for that allusive All Ireland medal. Winning an All Star and O’Connor Cup with University of Limerick, in recent years Fiona has successfully coached and jointly managed the UL women’s senior Gaelic Football team. Fiona advocates the role of women in today’s modern game and calls on more women to get involved in coaching, even on men’s teams.
Kerry All-Star Lorraine Scanlon (of Castleisland Desmonds), has served Kerry with distinction for many years and has also won 4 Munster senior championship medals. In senior Ladies Gaelic Football, Kerry can take the honours for being the most successful senior footballing county since 1974 (but unfortunately no All Ireland since 1993). However, the Kingdom and Lorraine continue to search for another All Ireland title today as Lorraine tries to follow in her mother’s footsteps, Mary Scanlon having won five All-Ireland medals as a member of the all-conquering Kerry ladies senior football team of the 1980s