Antrim History 1995 - 20012
Until 1995 ladies involvement in Gaelic football amounted to washing the kits and making the tea, as well as giving vocal support to their men from the safety of the sideline. But there came an uprising and the rebel ladies decided they wanted a bit of the action. Thus ladies football was born.
It was in 1995 that Marie McKee, Pauline McCoy, Louise Cambridge and Paddy Kelly all students in Belfast, got together and decided to form teams in their own parishes. Notices were placed in shop windows and parish bulletins in the respective areas, asking girls if they would like to play football and inviting them to meet for practice. A tournament was duly organized at Rasharkin and three aspiring Ladies football teams took part. These were Rasharkin, Moneyglass and a combination of Glenravel and All Saints Ballymena. The standard of play was low but the enjoyment was high and everyone looked forward with excitement.
Of the founder members Marie McKee was the committees first Chairperson, but is now in America. Pauline McKee played football for Queen’s University Belfast, winning the Dowd Cup and ‘Players Player of the Tournament’ in the G.Conner cup in 1998. Denise O’Boyle played a big part in Antrim’s All Ireland win in 1997 in Camogie. Louise Mc Cambridge moved to London, while Paddy Kelly continued managing and training in his native Rasharkin.
In 1996 a League and Championship were organized and entries came from Moneyglass, Rasharkin, and Glenavy and because their interest was growing Ballymena and Glenravel were able to form their own teams. Glenravel proved to be the team of ’96 as they won the League and went on to beat Rasharkin in the Championship final by 3-7 to 3-5.
Towards the end of the ‘96 season, a blitz tournament for U-14’s was organised with Toome being the venue. Teams from, Creggan, Moneyglass, Glenravel, Rasharkin and Lamh Dhearg (the only Belfast club to so far show an interest in promoting Ladies football). Moneyglass collected the women’s trophy, but there were no losers as all the young ladies got their first taste of pleasures of playing the game.
An Antrim county team took the stage in the National League in 1996 with Anita Gribbin as Captain and Paddy Kelly in charge. Success on the National stage is difficult to achieve and the Saffron Ladies have found the going tough to say the least. But it is all about experience gained and involvement is apparent.
In 1997 the same teams again competed in the League and Championship. More ladies were now playing the game and both standard and competition greatly improved. Moneyglass were undefeated winning the league and then beating Glenravel- the reigning Champions, in the Championship final 5-8 to 2-8. This was a big improvement from last year when Glenavy won by 47 to nil, in the semi-final.
In the Ulster Junior Club Championship, Carfen from Donegal travelled to Antrim to play Moneyglass and after a very good game finished strongly to win by six points.
Antrim were again involved in the National League but due to lack of commitment from some players, it was decided to withdraw and consolidate on improving the club structure.
1998 started with a man at the top table, Michael O’Neill from Rasharkin, being the first Chairperson. Leagues and Championships were organised, Sponsors were sought and clubs ran functions to raise money. The county was no way financially sound and provided the money was used wisely should remain that way.
Teams were evenly matched and none went through the league undefeated. Moneyglass defeated Glenavy in a play off by 1-10 to 2-3. In the Championship Rasharkin scored a last minute point to draw with Moneyglass 1-11 to 2-8 and in the replay finished strongly to win by 2-10 to 1-12
In the Ulster Club Rasharkin were unlucky being defeated by Loughin Island, who scored a couple of soft goals. The Down team won by three points.
Since those early days the seedlings have began to flourish in playing has grown and standards have steadily improved. The skill levels displayed and the commitment much in evidence has a steady influence in spectator interest and has made recruitment of players easy. However much of the administration work is done by those who are playing and in most clubs the work is done by a few ladies, who can’t give everything that the roles require. A strong juvenile scene is the key to future development in any sphere, and if and only if more people in the club areas, particularly parents are prepared to help out, it is clear that the seeds sown back in 1995 will flourish and strengthen in the years ahead.
Club scene 2001 to 2012
The new millennium saw the rise of interest from Belfast clubs as St Galls formed in 2001, followed by St Paul’s 2003, St Brigid’s 2004, Davitt’s 2004, Lamh Dhearg 2006 and south west team St James’ 2006. Unfortunately that year was also to witness the end of St Enda’s and Con Magee’s, Glenravel. 2007 St Teresa’s formed; 2008 Ardoyne Kickhams and south west clubs Oisin's Glenariffe and Tir na nOg with St Comgalls following in 2009. 2010 was the rebirth of St Enda's. 2011 another North Antrim club embraces ladies football in Con Magees Glenravel. 2012 St John's join the growing number of clubs in Belfast along with O'Donnell's, Sarsfields and St Agnes'.
An underage structure is slowing taking shape with structured competition at under 12, 14, 16 and minor. Aside from county organised programmes a number of clubs have shown great commitment to the development of ladies football by running underage tournaments both within and outside the county.
2013 Antrim Senior Championship St Paul's v St Ergnat's
Played at Corrigan Park August 31st. Reigning champions St Paul's renew old rivalries with southwest opponents St Ergnats. St Paul's 2.16 St Ergnats 1.03 St Paul's drew Down champions Castlwellan at Pairc Naomh Pol. St Paul's progressed to the Ulster semi finals where reigning All Ireland Champions from Monaghan Donaghmoyne ended the Antrim champions Ulster journey. Capt Aine Tubridy; management Brian Coyle, Donna Coyle
2013 Antrim Intermediate Championship St Joseph's v Creggan
Played at Corrigan Park August 32st. Last year's finalist Creggan versus last years junior championship winners St Josephs make it a southwest affair. St Joseph's proved too strong for neighbours Creggan. St Joseph's faced ahaghbog of Monaghan in the Ulster quarterfinals where their championship campaign ended.
2013 Antrim Junior Championship St Johns' v St Ernat's 2
Played at St Agnes' Park Woodlands 29th August. New comers from Belfast St John's proved too strong for the southwest side. St John's then faced Armagh Champions in The Grange where they suffered an early exit from Ulster Championship. Management Kevin Gough, Benny Brennan
2012 Ulster Minor Club Final St Paul's, Antrim v Cill Iseal, Tyrone
Played at Pairc Mhic Aismaint. Reigning champions St Paul's battled hard to retain their title however the Tyrone side edged a 2 point victory.
2012 Antrim Senior Championship St Gall's v St Paul's
Played at Casement Park September 25th an exciting finale to the senior finals saw a repeat of the 2011 finalists. This time St Paul's were to lift the silverware score St Paul's 4.13 St Gall's 2.15
St Paul's capt Caitlín McHugh, Manager Brian Coyle; Donna Coyle, Liam Heatley, Pearse McCotter
2012 Antrim Intermediate Championship Creggan v St Brigid's
Played onthe 9th September at St Paul's GAC Belfast the malone road side proved too strong for Creggan.
St Brigid's manager Anthony Carleton; Captain Orlaith Kirk
2012 Antrim Junior Championship St Joseph's v St John's
Played on the 9th September at St Paul's GAC Belfast. New comers St John's were outgunned by last year's runners up St Joseph's.
2011 Inaugural Ulster minor Club St Paul's Antrim -v- Termon Donegal @ Pairc Naomh Pól
Organisers St Paul's earned a much deserved title after putting on great team performance in the final against Termon of Donegal. 4.07 -v- 2.07
2011 Antrim Senior Championship St Paul's -v- St Gall's @ Paic Pádraig Sarsfiel.
The Belfast kingpins St Paul's lost the championship by 2 points. After a seven point lead going ibto the second half the St Paul's side wasted oppportunity as St Gall's fired back. St Gall's went on to meet Donaghmoyne of Monaghan who proved too strong a competition for the Antrim champions.
2011 Antrim Intermediate Championship St Ergnat's -v- Creggan @ Pairc Naomh Sheoshamh
St Ergnat's proved to be the better finishers lifting the title.
2011 Antrim Junior Championship St Paul's -v- St Joesph's @ Casement Park
A tightly contested game that saw the lead change on numerous occasions. St Paul's emerging victorious on this occasion.
2010 Antrim Senior Championship
St Paul's go straight through to Ulster club as the only senior club in Antrim.
Capt Rachel McCann Manager Brian Coyle
St Paul's travelled to meet Armagh champions Carrickcruppen in Ulster quarters where they exited the championship.
2010 Antrim Intermediate Championship St Gall's 2-10 St Brigid's 2-09
Hot favourites St Gall's got a shock when St Brigid's put up a fight at Casement Park Saturday 4th September. The St Brigid's side just up from junior ranks last year produced a blanket defence to pressure St Gall's. All square entering the second half St Brigid's started better going 2 up after a penalty was awarded and converted by Anna Finnegan. However 3 unanswered points gave the Milltown girls a one point lead. Finnegan had the chance to level and force extra time when awarded a free but pulled the ball wide.
St Gall's capt Eimear Gallagher; Manager Davy Cherry
St Gall's lifted the Ulster Intermediate title overcoming Truagh of Monaghan by a 6 point margin. In th elead up they beat Dromore Tyrone in the quarters, Ardtrea Derry in the semi finals. Drew Leinster champions St Conleth's Laois in the All Ireland semi and lost to them 2-09 v St Galls 0-14
2010 Antrim Junior Championship Tir na nÓg 3-09 St Paul's 3-07
Another closely fought game saw 2009 defeated finalists from Randalstown lift the title.
Captain Dervla O'Neill ; Manager Dominic Brady & Donna Mc Coy
Ulster preliminary match Tir na nOg fell to Monaghan champions Scotstown.
2009 Antrim Intermediate championship St Paul's 3-15 St Galls 3-07
Game took place at Casement Park 3rd Sept and was one of the best football games in terms of entertainment for anyone who was watching. Favourites St Paul's were put under pressure as their forwards failed to take their scores and as St Galls grew in confidence an intense fast game insued. However St Paul's experience, depth to their panel led them to a victory once again. Manager Brian Coyle; Captain Donna Coyle. This was to be St Paul's year as they progressed through the Ulster championship to lift the provincial intermediate club title.
Ulster championship results: 1/4s St Paul's 7-13 v Arva 0-08 (Cavan) semis Cill iseal 0-12 (Tyrone) v St Paul's 3-11 Final Magheracloone (Monaghan) 1-09 v St Pauls 3.10
The All Ireland draw was unkind to the Ulster sides. St Paul's endured a trip across to London the following weekend to play British champions Fr Murphy's of London. Under horrendous conditions the St Pauls side won by a narrow margin 1-05 v 0-06. Again St Paul's were made to travel the following weekend to Tipperary for the All Ireland semi final were Munster champions Brian Boru Tipperary were awarded a home venue. The St Paul's side were slow to start and after 15 mins Brian Boru had gave themselves an 11 point lead. This was the turning of the game as St Paul's settled and dominated the remainder of the game. Brian Boru managed only 3 points in the remaining 40 minutes (2 from frees). However the headstart St Paul's gave to Brian Boru and missed opportunities was costly as the team lost by 4 points Brian Boru 3-12 v St Paul's 3-08.
Playes at St Paul's 7th Sept. The St Brigid's side were runawy victors against the newcomers from Randalstown. St Brigids drew Derry representatives Ardtrea in the Ulster club were they suffered a heavy defeat of 14 points. St Brigid's are a young side with great potential.
2008 Antrim Intermediate championship St Paul's 10-10 v St Galls 1-03
St Paul's outgunned their fellow city opponents. In Ulster the St Paul's side progressed to the Ulster final were they faced eventual All Ireland Champions Emyvale. In the quarters they played Carryduff Co. Down; Semis Brookeborough Fermanagh.
2008 - Antrim Junior Championship St Paul's v All Saints, Ballymena
This was to be a first in Antrim history as the West Belfast side, St Paul's, made it a double on September 5th Casement Park as they lifted the Junior Club title. The St Paul's (2) side were put out in Ulster quarters by Truagh of Monaghan.
2007 Antrim Intermediate Championship St Paul's v St Ergnat's Moneyglass
Matched played at Cardinal O'Donnells pitch Belfast. Moneyglass holders of the intermediate title went in as favourites however St Paul's were to cause a 12 point upset giving a fabulous display to lift their first intermediate title. St Paul's progressed to the Ulster semi final were they fell to Newtownbutler after a closely fought game.
St Gall's won this game and progressed through to the Ulster Junior final were they were beaten. They met Armagh representatives in the quarters, a game that went to extra time.
Played at Corrigan Park, Belfast. The Moneyglass side dominated as St Paul's struggled to find form. St Ergnats drew a home game in the quarter finals against Crossmaglen Rangers, Armagh. The Antrim representatives were well in contention for the game leading up to half time however the Armagh side came out more determined for a win.
2006 - Antrim Junior championship St Gall's v Kickhams Creggan
The southwest side were victorious. They exited the Ulster club in the quarter final
2005 - Antrim Junior Championship St Paul's v Kickhams Cregga
Played at St Gall's. St Paul's won. Home game against Fermanagh representatives Brookeborough in the Ulster quarters. Progressed to play Armagh’s Carrickcruppen away. Armagh side won.
Played at Kickham's Creggan. St Paul's won their first ladies football title. Met Derry champions Ballinascreen in Ulster. St Paul’s then progressed through to the Ulster final when they faced Monaghan representatives Inniskeen. The Monaghan side won by 4 points.
Moneyglass won and progressed through to the Ulster Junior club final which they won.
St Paul’s have lifted all juvenile titles from 2004. St Paul’s u14s representing Antrim at Feile Peil na nOg lifted the Division 4 All Ireland title in 2008.
2013 Ulster u14 B winners
2012 Ulster Junior Championship winners; All Ireland Junior Championship winners; Management Brian Coyle, Donna Coyle, Eddie McKeever, Aine McElroy. Capt Claire Timoney
2011 All Ireland Minor B runner up
2009 All Ireland Junior Title defeated Limerick. Manager Davy Cherry, Ciaran O’Connor.
Capt. Gerardine Mc Cann
Also in 2009 lifted Ulster u14,16 and minor B Championship titles. Runner up to Derry in Ulster Junior championship.
2008 Runner up Ulster Junior championship
Ulster minor B championship RU
Ulster u16 B championship winners
2007 Runner up Ulster Junior championship
2006 Runner up Ulster Junior championship
2005 Ulster u16 ‘B’ Championship winners.
2004 Ulster u14 ulster blitz plate winners.
2003 Ulster u14 ulster blitz plate winners
Onóracha - Craobh
Sinsear Idirmheánach Soiséar Mionuir Fé16 Fé14 Féile
2013 St Paul's St Joseph's St John's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Brigid's
2012 St Paul's St Brigid's St Joseph's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Brigid's
2011 St Gall's St Ergant's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's
2010 St Paul's* St Galls Tir na nÓg - St Paul's St Brigid's St Brigid's
2009 St Paul's St Brigid's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's
2008 St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's
2007 St Paul's St Gall's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's
2006 St Ergnat's Creggan St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's
2005 St Ergnat's* St Paul's - St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's
2004 St Paul's - St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's
2003 St Ergnat's
2002 St Ergnat's
2001 St Ergnat's
2000 St Ergnat's
1999 St Ergnat's
1997 St Ergnats
1996 Con Magees
*clubs name in green denotes new grade created in the county with that club having won an Ulster title.
All County League winners
Year u14 16 Minor Senior 1 Senior 2 Senior 3
2013 St Brigid's St Pauls - St Paul's St Paul's Ardoyne
2012 St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Joseph's St Brigid's
2011 St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's St Paul's Creggan St Paul's
2010 St Paul's St Paul's - St Paul's