Latest Laois Sport: Welcoming home our All-Ireland Champion Women
In Awe of the Mná
By Niall Dillon
In a County such as Laois, All-Ireland Titles and Inter-County Titles are few and far between, Laois GAA has enjoyed relatively good success in recent years, but All-Ireland Titles still elude Laois GAA, Ladies Football in Laois has really seemed to take off, with the huge amount of support from Lidl Ireland and TG4 and these women have seen a remarkable and dramatic increase in support, and then last Sunday, one of the most remarkable things occurred in Croke Park, when the Laois Ladies Football Team remarkably beat Wexford 1-13 to 1-11 to win the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship for the first time in 22 years and claim the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup.
The team, led by Captain Aimee Kelly, with Mo Nerney, Anna Healy, Eimear Barry; Clodagh Dunne, Aisling Donoher, Rachel Williams, Ellen Healy, Amy Potts, Jane Moore; Eva Galvin, Laura Maire Maher, Erone Fitzpatrick, Emma Lawlor, Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald, Joyce Dunne, Orla Hennessy, Anna Moore, Clare Conlon, Sinead Farrelly, Aoife Kirrane, Laura Nerney, Alanna Havill, Grainne Lalor, Shifra Havill and Kelly O’Neill gave all action performance that was fantastic, did you notice there? I named the entire team, I felt it would be unfair not to mention them all.
It looked to a comfortable and easy win for the team, but despite Wexford’s chances and numerous try for a goal, the 23-strong women team held out, held their ground and saw off Wexford in a spectacular manner. A score in the opening minute and then in the first minutes made it was a straight win. There were extremely joyous scenes on the pitch afterwards, especially when Aimee Kelly lifted the cup and as Aisling Donoher said ”Today, I was doing it for Dan”. They did indeed do it for Dan, every single one of us, the team and their huge amount of supporters, we all did for Dan. There were not only joyous scenes in Croke Park, but all as the team arrived back home later that day as champions to the Killeshin Hotel and yesterday at O’Moore Park, when despite being saturated by heavy downpours of rain, the rain just couldn’t keep them away to welcome home the Champions. The Celebrations continued from Sunday into yesterday, Bank Holiday Monday, best of all, when we all painted the town red Sunday night and last night and the team and everyone all sang the Team’s unofficial victory anthem, Mickey Jo Harte and ‘We’ve Got the World’. We Got The World Tonight Last Night and We Held on Together, cause We Got a Love that was right and we opened our hearts and we got tonight.
Brave doesn’t cut with these ladies, they are hardworking, fearless and dedicated to their sport, and by god, did it show. It’s fair to say the entire length and breath of County Laois was behind them and gave them the support they needed, Ladies Football Fever swept the county last week, we couldn’t be prouder of you all Ladies and you are real heroes that continue to inspire you us all. Please God, it won’t before the Mary Quinn Cup comes this way again and there won’t be another long 22-year gap to claim any more All-Ireland Ladies Football Titles. Hopefully now they will be heroes and role models for the younger generation of future GAA players, We’re all Fans now, We’re Totally and Absolutely In Awe of the Mná. Thanks Ladies, may we be forever in your debt. Go raibh míle míle míle maith agat Ladies.