To be present in Clonberne on Sunday last was a privilege as Termon became the first Donegal club to reach a Ladies All-Ireland club final.
To see a team perform to the very best of their ability is very rare, but on Sunday last that happened for Termon.
It was a magnificent display - not just the individual performance of Geraldine McLaughlin, but the workrate, and spirit shown from the first whistle to the last was commendable.
The last whistle took a little longer than expected as Sligo referee John Niland played some 11 minutes of extra time at the end of the second half. Termon manager, Francie Friel, was more than annoyed because some seven minutes into added time, during a stoppage, he asked the official how much was left but the referee would not tell him.
The Kilkerrin/Clonberne facilities were first class with a lovely spectator stand and an immaculate pitch. The only thing missing was a match clock and the Ladies Association must take responsibility for that.
In the end it didn’t matter, but it would have been a terrible injustice if Termon had been bettered on the day as they were the superior team.
Even the locals were in awe of the display from Geraldine McLaughlin, who tormented them from start to finish. It was a major surprise that the Clonberne management didn’t put one of the Ward twins back to mark McLaughlin. The twins, two of the fasted footballers you could see, were the stars of the Clonberne outfit. They, along with the experienced Annette Clarke, carried the only real for Termon.
The Termon management under Francie Friel, Trevor Alcorn and Paul McDaid must take a bow for the way they approached this game. Termon were totally focussed right from the start with Laura Gallagher making a fantastic save from Louise Ward in the opening minute.
Apart from the majestic McLaughlin (who was involved in all 14 scores for Termon), Roisin Friel played a pivotal role, winning vital possession around the middle and being able to hold up the ball until the pass was possible. Once the ball was played forward McLaughlin was on fire.
That Clonberne had not a player sinbinned until the 66th minute was a black mark on the referee’s card. By that stage some McLaughlin had been fouled around 18 times. It was not always by the same player, but with three players almost always in the vicinity, it amounts to at least six fouls each - surely enough to quality for persistent fouling.
The fouling proved costly for Clonberne as Maureen ‘Mo’ O’Donnell was clinical, hitting seven from seven - all won by McLaughlin. The experienced O’Donnell was a model of consistency, taking care with each kick.
Now Termon have the chance to create even greater history. On Sunday week, they take on the black and amber clad Mourneabbey from Mallow, Co. Cork, powered by the O’Sullivan sisters.
It is another huge challenge, but Termon have got a taste for it now and if they can reproduce the spirit and performance of Sunday last then they can take home an All-Ireland title.