You could be forgiven for expecting to see the Dublin and Mayo men’s Senior Football teams at the top of this list. The familiar pairing beat Cavan and Tipperary respectively over the weekend, putting a pin in the hope of magic and history winning out over sheer talent and physical prowess.
Footballer of the Year hopeful Brian Fenton spoke to RTÉ after the drubbing of Cavan. When asked about Dublin’s drive for six Sam Maguires in a row, he dismissed it and spoke of how the Dublin team just doesn’t like to lose. That candid, off-hand response will send chills down Mayo’s spine. While they and the rest of the country are trying to catch up to Dublin, the All-Ireland Champions just don’t like losing and so have refused to do so since 2014.
The All-Ireland Football finalists had brilliant games as usual over the weekend, but this post is all about the Ladies’ football game. After a weekend in which the Cork and Galway Ladies Football All-Ireland semi-final was changed and altered to suit the men’s semi later that afternoon, we must promote the Ladies’ game more. Hopefully the debacle at the weekend will be a watershed moment. Let’s have a look at our first team of the week.
Fermanagh Ladies (All-Ireland Junior Champions)
Fermanagh won the All-Ireland Junior football championship after Wicklow came within a goal in the dying minutes of the game. Fermanagh burst into life with a goal after 21 seconds, Roisín McDonald palming in Aisling Maguire’s pass. Wicklow never went ahead in the game but had a shot saved in the final minutes by super keeper Shauna Murphy. It is the mark of true champions to be both in control and able to survive a scare!
Fermanagh lost this same tie last year in the Junior All-Ireland final against Louth. In an interview with GAA.ie, captain Courteney Murphy said that it was motivation for Saturday’s win.
She said: “I don’t think anybody would expect to be winning All-Irelands in December, but we’ll take it anyway.”
Murphy was forced to sit out the game due to a persisting hand injury this season but she was on hand to give encouragement to the ladies throughout the match.
Roisín McDonald, who scored the first goal after 21 seconds, said that it wasn’t necessarily part of the plan for the game. She spoke to the Ladies Gaelic Football Association after the game and said she was just delighted to be on the end of the move.
The player that set up that first goal after a run through the heart of the Wicklow defence was Aisling Maguire. Maguire won the Player of the Match award. She drew four Wicklow players into her as she ran at the goal, freeing up McDonald to receive her pass and start the game off in the best way possible.
It wasn’t all plain sailing and Wicklow hit the post just before half-time and drew level in the second half before a sin-bin for Aoife Gorman would prove costly.
Eimear Smyth scored the winning goal 13 minutes from time to hand the Ernesiders the All-Ireland Junior Championship for the second time in their history.
Massive congratulations to the Fermanagh Ladies team and best of luck in the Intermediate Championship next year.