Donegal Ladies GAA football takes centre stage this week because of their historic achievement in reaching their first National League Division 1 football final after a resounding victory over Galway last Sunday.
They will meet Cork in Parnell Park on Sunday May 7 in the national decider.
Too often, Ladies GAA goes under the radar in respect of media profile. The men’s and lady’s schedules run concurrently which takes the spotlight off the latter unfortunately.
Donegal’s recent form has been impressive and they deserve full recognition for their successes. I have to admit that I had to take a peek at the Ladies Gaelic Football Association’s website to determine when the LGFA was founded.
Their mission statement ('About us') is impressive; “Coming a long way since 1974, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association now has 17 full time employees, ten of whom are based in Croke Park, and the remaining seven based in various regional locations throughout the country. The Ladies Gaelic Football Association strives to be a modern, innovative and well run organisation that provides a quality service and support system for all members, from an 8-year-old girl kicking her first ball in her local club to an elite athlete scoring her first point in Croke Park”.
TG4 has to be given credit for their coverage of Ladies football. They have been broadcasting live games for quite some time now.
It was such a pity that they didn’t show Donegal’s game last Sunday. The game obviously clashed with the All-Ireland camogie league final.
The old adage that ‘success breeds success’ is so true and Donegal will benefit greatly in respect of attracting more ladies to play Gaelic football and hopefully more sponsorship.
The ladies' and men’s achievements, including juveniles, complement each other.
Most GAA clubs in Donegal now have female teams which brings inclusivity to the club, making the club a stronger organisation as a whole.
I believe that Ladies football is a brilliant sporting and social outlet, especially for our youngsters and the LGFA is still growing.
As Donegal team manager, Michael Naughtan has done a great job and I’m delighted for him and his players that they have reached this final.
Donegal’s performances in the National League have been superb which will give the team great confidence against Cork, who they have already beaten, on Sunday week. Well done to all concerned and here's hoping that our lady footballers bring back the silverware to Donegal.
If we hear little about Ladies football, then we hear less about tennis in Donegal. Little did you know that we have a champion in our midst here in the Finn Valley and namely The Cross. His name is Luka Browne, son of Stephen and Miriam.
Luka won the U-12 boys singles and U-14 boys doubles Tyrone Open championships in Omagh last Saturday.
I only happened to bump into the proud Luka and his parents last Saturday afternoon in The Cross village with the young lad brandishing his trophies. I enquired what he had won. He reminded me so much of myself when I was his age. I used to win the odd medal or trophy for athletics as a lad and a famous columnist and photographer called Noel Slevin used to profile my winnings in his paper. I’m looking forward to the day when this young lad graces the courts of Wimbledon. You heard it here first.
A friend of mine wanted me to tell the following joke again. It goes like this:
“An Irishman was touring the USA on holiday and stopped in a remote bar in the hills of Nevada. He was chatting to the bartender when he spied an old Indian sitting in the corner with his tribal gear on, long white plaits and an incredibly wrinkled face. "Who's he?" said the Paddy. "That's the Memory Man." said the bartender. "He knows everything. He can remember any fact. Go on, try him out."
So the Irishman goes over, and thinking that he won't know anything about hurling, asks "Who won the 1996 Munster Semi Final played in the Gaelic Grounds?" "Limerick," replies the Memory Man. "Who did they beat?" "Clare," was the reply. "And the score?" "15 points to 1-13." "Who scored the winning point?" "Ciarán Carey," was the old man's reply.
The Irishman was knocked out by this and when he returned home he told all his friends and relatives about the amazing Memory Man.
Five years later he went back to the USA and tried to find the Impressive Memory Man again. Eventually he found the bar and there, sitting in the same seat, was the Indian, looking older and even more wrinkled.
The Irishman was delighted to see him, and, deciding to greet the Indian in his native tongue, approached him with the greeting "How".
"Solo-run out of the half back line." replied the Memory Man.