Michael Glaveys Ladies Football

MICHAEL GLAVEYS LADIES FOOTBALL-THE BEGINNING.(Courtesy of Teresa Bermingham. From Cúpla Focail :50 Years of Michael Glavey's GAA Club Booklet.)

There may be many reasons in the lifetime of a club that some years will be remembered more than others.  It could be the opening of a new club house or football pitch, the years lots of silverware was won or the precious one that was just missed. For whatever reasons Michael Glaveys is no exception and 1990 is certainly one to remember. It was a year with a difference, since that was the year of our Club's first ever Ladies Football Team.
The first Team was the U-14 Girls who were later to christen themselves Brendan's Army, as Brendan Cregg-Cloonfad N.S Principal, was the man at the helm.  He was Trainer/Manager, and no better man for the job, while Gerry Markham, Margaret McGuire and Teresa Birmingham were drafted in to lend assistance. Mary Birmingham and Catherine Osgood never missed a match or training session and always helped out in whatever way they could.

There wasn't time for much training before the first Championship game but the interest shown by all the girls was overwhelming, so much so that it made the task of selecting a team quite difficult.  With the team duly selected they were on the road to victory with games against St. Mary's, St. Faithleach's, Cregg's, St. Brigid's and Clann Na nGael. As the competition progressed training became very serious indeed taking place three evenings a week. The dedication was soul inspiring. Some parents got involved bringing the girls to training and home games, while a bus was always arranged for away games with 50 pence collected from each player and supporter. In this way no travelling expenses were incurred by the Club. These journeys were very enjoyable because of the girls attitudes, whether the game was won or lost, they were always winners by the way they accepted the outcome. We were guaranteed a singing session on the homeward journey, no need for C.D.s or MP 3 players then. Their favourite song was "We're all part of Brendan's army, We're all off to play the game" and "We'll really shake them up when we win the County Cup for Glaveys are the greatest football team."

That County Cup seemed a long way from their grasp especially when they were very badly beaten by Cregg's early in the competition. I think that was the game that made them more determined than ever to put in that extra effort and yes they reached the Final. Their opponents once again were Cregg's.  The memory of that first clash would be enough to dishearten the most experienced of teams but not our girls. The emphasis for the game was that they were to enjoy it. They'd given their best throughout the competition and we believed the final wouldn't be any different.

The game was set to be played in Castlerea. It was a beautiful summer's evening, a huge crowd turned out to watch what proved to be as described in the papers afterwards "one of the best U-14 finals ever played in Roscommon". The performance was electric from beginning to end as play swung from one side to the other, until the final whistle when Glaveys were ahead by the smallest of margins-a meagre one point. The thirty players on the field gave one hundred percent that day. It was a shame there had to be a loser but certainly  it was a great one to win. There was much jubilation afterwards as Glaveys celebrated their great victory. On the winning team were Jackie Keane, Eileen Kelly, Bernie Osgood, Carol Bermingham, Caroline McGuire, Mary Murphy, Paula Cunningham, Mary Cunnane, Helen Kelly, Philomena Birmingham, Christine Prendergast, and Olivia Regan. Subs were Claire Moran, Lucy Fleming, Niamh Doherty, Caroline Burke, and Mary Cunningham.

That same year the U-14 Girls also reached the Connaught Final of the Community Games in Sligo, where they were beaten by an excellent Cong team who had dominated the competition for many years. The team in the Community Games was a little different to the championship team as the rules vary regarding ages. In Community Games, participants must be under the specified age by July 1st, whereas in championship football it goes by January 1st. The youngest player on the team that year was Philomena Birmingham who was just 10 years old. What a great achievement for a Team in their first year of football.

That U-14 Team was a pleasure to be involved with and have inspired many teams in the years since. Some of that team are now Coaches with the Club, some have moved away, and some now have children of their own, who play on Club Teams currently.(2015) Whatever walk of life they have chosen, I hope that they will always know the joy they gave to all of us as they played football in their younger years. Thanks for giving us the chance to share it with you and special thanks to Brendan Cregg for starting it all.

In 1991,seven of that first Team made the County panel, namely Noreen McGuire, Olivia Regan, Mary Cunnane, and the other 4- Caroline McGuire, Carol Birmingham, Bernie Osgood, and Mary Murphy played on the County Roscommon U-16 Team which reached the All-Ireland Semi-Final against Monaghan. They also played on the Roscommon Minor Team that year and reached the All-Ireland Final where they were beaten in Ennis by an outstanding Waterford Team who went on to win 3 All-Ireland Senior Titles in a row. Ray Burke from Strokestown trained those Roscommon Teams for many years and was always a true gentleman. We appreciate all the time and expertise he gave in that time.

The U-14 Team were the only Girls Team in Michael Glaveys Club until 1994, when Eddie Bermingham and Angela Keaveney got the U-12 Girls Team going. They reached the County Final in their first year but were beaten by St. Faithleach's in Oran. Cathy Daly was the star player on that Team. In 1995, they got sweet revenge when they met St. Faithleach's again in the Final and beat them by two points in a closely contested game. Outstanding players on the day were Marie Jennings, Maria Regan, Rita Page, Sharon Lyons, and in goal Mary Burke. A disappointment on the day was that Collette Godfrey one of the best player's had to miss the game as she was on a school tour and did not get back on time to participate. The U-12 Team also won a 7-a side Blitz in Elphin that year, beating the favourites Éire Óg in the Final. Eddie now joined by Mae Clifford  and Helen Waldron coached the U-12 Teams for another few years, while Brendan and his Management continued with the U-14's.

Michael Glaveys Ladies Football has become very strong in recent years. As well as U-12 and U-14 Teams, an U-16, Minor, and Senior Team was also introduced. Brendan continues to Manage and Coach Teams in the different grades and even though some of us have retired to leave it to the younger generation, our hearts will always be with Michael Glaveys. May the enjoyment of football continue  and the Club Jersey be worn  with pride and respect for many generations to come.

With all the success experienced at Underage level in the early days it was only a matter of time before a Junior Ladies Team was formed.  In the first few years we found the step up to this higher level very tough, especially  as we had a very young team, but everyone loved the craic. We did not mind the tough training all that much and as we deserved, the Players and Managers/Trainers alike, our reward came when we finally began winning!

In 2002, a strong Panel was assembled. We were doing well in the League but unfortunately it was never completed. St. Mary's knocked us out of the Championship and went on to win a Connaught Title. This gave us great ambition for the next year.

At the A.G.M.,we set out our agenda for the 2003 Championship. We were all motivated and determined to win some silverware for Glaveys! We started training in early March with Brendan(Cregg) and Pat(Heneghan) at the helm. While we went through some tough training and gruelling days, motivation was kept up by the core group of girls, for who anything other than a championship win would have been heartbreaking. Our first Championship outing was against our neighbours Éire Óg, who we bet convincingly. In the next round we met Ballinameen, here we only succeeded in playing half a game as by that stage we had a commanding lead. Neither of these matches prepared us for the Final where we met Kilglass Gaels. Needless to say after previous two games we felt invincible and got quite a shock when we found ourselves in a tough game. We were lucky to escape that day from the runway in Kilbride thanks to a fortuitous penalty. Next day out were much better prepared and won the game 1-13 to 1-08. The scenes of celebration will long live on in the memories of all the girls involved. We had huge support on the day and the victorious scenes around the Parish were unforgettable. But our winning ways in 2003 had only just begun. We went on to win the All County League, which also went to replay in the Final, when we beat Roscommon Gaels by a point in a very hard fought game. This replay was played on November 30th so it was a very long year for all the girls involved. It wasn't all hard slog though as many a celebratory night was held in our honour.

Before we knew it, it was time to start planning for our next challenge in the Intermediate Championship. While other Clubs might just be happy enough to have reached this level, we were all ready to give our best shot at making an upset in our first year.  We did just that by reaching the Final. Unfortunately for us we didn't perform on the day and were beaten by a strong and experienced St. Brigid's Team who went on to win the All-Ireland.

This defeat only succeeded in further motivating us to get back to winning ways in 2005. Again with a strong panel all pulling together towards success, we reached the County Final where we faced  a tough Roscommon Gaels Team in Castlerea. At the end only a superior point by Pamela separated the sides. We were on a winning streak  again and so the celebrations began. Unfortunately for us we were missing some key players when we met Louisburgh in the Connaught Championship. However, we were now promoted to Senior football, a goal which had been set by the founding group of members who had started Ladies football in 1990.

In our first year of Senior football in 2006, we started afresh with Francie Keane taking over the reigns from Brendan(whose head was no doubt wrecked from all those years training us). There were four Teams involved in the Championship that year- Glaveys, St. Brigid's, Padraig Pearses, and Clann Na nGael. All Teams played each other on a round robin basis to decide semi-final pairings. This was a huge step up from Intermediate but the girls rose to the challenge. Our first outing was against Pearses, the second St. Brigid's who were both last year's finalist. We battled bravely but failed to win either game. Our next game was against Clann Na nGael. This was a great team effort with every player giving it their all. After a hard fought game we emerged victorious, our first win in a Senior Championship. This win had us in a positive mind for our semi-final against 2005 winners St. Brigid's. With nothing to lose, a great team performance was put in. We were only 3 points down at half time. However, after the half time break, St. Brigid's emerged at a higher gear, and unfortunately we were unable to match them. While we are now "competing" with the other Senior Teams, next year we plan on "beating them". Roll on 2007.


On Saturday night the 5th December, Michael Glavey's LGFA celebrate their 25th Anniversary.  The celebrations take place in the Hillside Tavern, Granlahan @ 9.00pm with presentations  beginning @10.30pm. County LGFA Chairperson, Seamus Maher, will be inattendence. The Minor Girls won the Division 3 Championship Final against Castlerea St. Kevin's, and will be presented with their medals. The Ladies Team will receive their new Jersey Kit. Music, food, and a reunion of many past and present players,managers, and members.

The current LGFA Committee invite all to celebrate this very special occasion.