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Ardfinnan celebrate their 50th Anniversary   07/10/2019


It's hard to know where to start as we reminisced on the last 50 years of Ladies Football in Ardfinnan in Cahir House Hotel last Saturday night.. We were honoured to be joined by Marie Hickey, President LGFA; Jerome Casey, President Munster LGFA; Lar Roche Chairperson Tipperary LGFA along with past and present players, coaches, officers, parents and supporters.

We are blessed in our community to have produced so many wonderful players, coaches and administrators who have represented our Club and County with pride over the years and are truly grateful to have one of the founding members of the LGFA (Biddy Ryan) still as involved today as she was on day one.

Ladies Football began back in Ardfinnan in 1969 with the ladies having fond memories on training and playing matches on "The Green"... However it was 1974 when the LGFA was officially formed and the first All Ireland competition took place. We are so proud to boast that first Tipperary team was well represented by Ardfinnan with Kitty Savage being the Captain and becoming the first lady to have the honour of lifting the Brendan Martin cup. In 1975, another Ardfinnan lady by the name of Margaret Carroll had the honour of lifting the Brendan Martin cup along with her Ardfinnan and Tipperary teammates. In recent years, Tipperary have experienced more All Ireland glory at Intermediate level in 2017 and 2019 with our very own Samantha Lambert lifting the Mary Quinn cup and bringing All Ireland glory back to Ardfinnan again along with fellow Ardfinnan woman Laura Dillon.

There have been many highs and lows over the 50 years as eluded to by our Chairperson Peggy Kennedy including the trips to Mosney and claiming the Gold Medals in 1981 and Silver medals in 1985; winning, losing and competing in numerous County Titles at the various grades; watching our Ardfinnan girls represent Tipperary (and London) and claim many Munster and All Ireland titles at the various underage and adult grades.

One of the most recent highlights which was acknowledged by a best wishes card from Aherlow Ladies Football Club on the night, was the joining of both our Clubs to compete in the Tipperary Junior Championship as Gleann Ard and winning the title in 2007. We all have fond memories of our time together and this arrangement proved to benefit both clubs as it ensured we could continue to provide ladies football for our clubgirls during a period when membership of adult players in both Clubs was at a low. We would like to congratulate Aherlow on claiming the Senior Title this year and hopefully we will be back up there competing with them in the very near future.

What a year 2019 has been for our Club as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary. We are thrilled to say that we are providing ladies football for our 165 registered members with teams competing in every grade from U6, U8, U10, U11, U12, U14, U17, U19, Junior A and also in the G4MO competitions. There were many highlights in 2019 including our girls competing in the County Leagues and Championships, our U10 trip to Croke Park, our U8 and U10 trip to Passage West, our G4MO trips to Mallow and Dublin to compete in the Munster and National blitzes and Sarah English winning an U17 All Ireland title with Tipperary. Finally, we were so proud to host the homecoming and welcome home Samantha, Laura, Sarah Jane and the All Ireland champions and the Mary Quinn cup back over Ardfinnan Bridge on 16th September 2019..

As we look forward to the next 50 years, we are thrilled to be able to say that we have a wonderful committed and talented Adult team and with our juvenile teams competing at the highest levels and reaching finals at the various grades, it is hopefully only a matter of time until we are back competing at the highest adult grade. One of our main focus points will be the retention of these wonderful players and putting structures in place to ensure our Club goes from strength to strength over the next 50 years.

We will continue to provide football for all and encourage the girls and ladies (and the men for that matter) of our community to be part of this wonderful club either as players, coaches, officers, referees or in anyway they would like to help...

Winning is wonderful but participation is the key success and ensuring we keep our members involved. So for now our focus is on increasing our membership, developing our players, improving our performance levels, believing in our own ability and trusting those around us and with all these elements in the mix, we hope to bring lots more silverware back to Ardfinnan. We believe that having structures in place to continue to provide ladies football in Ardfinnan will ensure that we can improve both the physical and mental health of our members and continue to promote a Healthy Club in our Community in people feel they belong to.

To our players, parents, coaches, mentors, physios, officers, supporters, sponsors, photographers, fundraisers, referees, sister clubs, county board, Munster LGFA and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association and everyone who has been part of our 50 year history- we would like to thank you all for your continued support and for helping to make our history so special..

Go raibh mile maith agat.

OFFICERS: Barbara Hyland Secretary Ardfinnnan LGFA; Peggy Kennedy Current Chairperson Ardfinnnan LGFA; Biddy Ryan First Chairperson Ardfinnnan LGFA; Sarah Jane Darmody PRO Ardfinnan LGFA

JUNIORS: Members of Ardfinnan Ladies Junior Team enjoying the 50 year celebrations

ALL IRELAND WINNERS: Members of the All Ireland winning teams of 1974, 1975 , 1980 pictured with the First and Current Chairpersons of Ardfinnan LGFA Back Row L-R Biddy Ryan (First Chairperson), Lina Rina, Antoinette Nagle, Lil Dillon Front Row: L-R Tina Flynn, Nora Moran, Kitty Savage, Eleanor Carroll, Peggy Kennedy (Current Chairperson)

CHAIRPERSONS: Biddy Ryan First Chairperson of Ardfinnan LGFA and Peggy Kennedy Current Chairperson of Ardfinnan LGFA cutting the beautiful cake gifted to the Club by Lisa Hackett

PRESIDENT: Peggy Kennedy Chairperson Ardfinnnan LGFA; Marie Hickey President of LGFA; Barbara Hyland Secretary Ardfinnnan LGFA

3 Generations: Biddy Ryan (One of the founding members of Ardfinnan LGFA and the LGFA), her granddaughter Cathy Ryan (current player with Ardfinnan LGFA) and her daughter Patreece Ryan (former player with Ardfinnan LGFA and Tipperary LGFA and current player with the Gaelic 4 Mothers and Others team)

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