2020 Annual Report
In what could only be described as a challenging year to all in the GAA Family, Garrycastle Ladies still had a phenomenal season with many county titles won and all teams playing to a high standard of football. This was by no means an easy feat and was only possible as a result of all the hard work done in the background. Huge thanks to our committee members, coaches, mentors, parents/guardians and of course the players themselves for completing a tough but very successful year.
Senior Ladies started with a players meeting, followed by their first training session on Friday 7th of February with a great turnout and continued to train three times a week in preparation for the league, which unfortunately never was. All activities ceased in March, which was not ideal, but the safety of the players and their families was priority and all instructions from the LFGA were followed.
With everything up in the air regarding getting back on the pitch, the coaches organised Zoom classes to keep the girls involved in some sort of a team training session. Huge thanks must go to Orla Breathnach, Mickey Greene and former Garrycastle player Amanda McCloone for facilitating these classes.
As good as the Zoom classes were there was an eagerness to get back onto the pitch, which they did on Wednesday 23rd of June. The girls were now a month out from the re-structured Championship and were drawn in a group with Milltown and The Downs.
First up was The Downs away and our players showed great heart and passion to beat the Downs by 2-10 to 1-7. Next up was a ding-dong battle with Milltown in a game, which could have gone either way, but in the end, they had to settle for a draw 1-9 to 0-12.
The girls then faced last year’s winners Rochfortbridge in the semi-final and the game would be played in Rochfortbridge. The lead up to this game was far from ideal as they lost two of their county players Aoife Connolly and Sarah Dolan to injury, which was a devastating blow, but they had a great panel and were still very confident. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The players gave it their all right to the end but lost out by four points to a team who went on to be county champions.
Senior B Westmeath Senior-B County Champions With Covid making a mess of fixtures once again, they played one game in their championship group against Rochfortbridge and went down by a point in a thrilling game in Rochfortbridge. With The Downs not fielding, they progressed to a semi-final against a young and classy Mullingar Shamrocks team. This game was a tit for tat affair with both teams looking likely winners, but trailing by seven points at one stage, our players showed unbelievable fight and spirit to claw back to level terms and force extra time. Having a large panel really made the difference as Garrycastle were able to introduce fresh legs. They pushed on in extra time and got the result they wanted.
On a damp October Sunday at noon Garrycastle faced Kinnegad in the Senior B final and the players started strong from the very first whistle. They never let the opposition get going which was a credit to each and every member of the panel who all had game time and all had a big part to play in securing the win.
It was an ideal way to end a very strange year and this will contribute so much to help Garrycastle Ladies reach next year’s goal of becoming senior county champions. Many thanks to coaches/mentors Kevin Dolan, Damien Reynolds and Ken Dolan for their hard work and commitment to the senior squad in what was a very difficult year. Many thanks also to all the people in the background – Sinead Denby, Trish Dolan and Marie McGovern.
Minor Girls All Minor championship games were deferred due to Covid-19 restrictions. A decision regarding rescheduling of the minor games is due to be made early in January 2021 by the county board.
Under-16 Girls U16 Westmeath Div 2 Winners. The Under-16 girls started training in January 2019 and continued up to October 2020. The girls had a fantastic season and once again were crowned County champions. The girls were undefeated in all 5 championship matches played, which culminated with a very impressive victory in the final against St. Joseph’s in Garrycastle.
A strong start to the final, put them in a great position to win the under-16 title for the 2nd year in a row. Many thanks to Colin Clyne, Noelle O Donnell, Katrina Jameson, Ger Griffith, Richie Byrne and Declan Finn for their hard work all season. Also to the parents who supported the players and finally to the club executive for their help.
Under-14 Girls 2020 saw this group of girls competing in division 2 of the Under-14 Championship. With only nine under-14 players available we had to bring in under-12 players to supplement the squad. In their first game with a couple of players absent through injury and illness the team were well beaten in a rain soaked Loughnavally. There were plenty of positives to be taken from this match, however, as several players were playing on a full-size pitch for the first time and after a poor start there was a huge improvement in the second half.
Next up was an impressive win over St Marys that was marred by an unfortunate injury to Matilda Parker, playing in her debut match. Following this was a match vs. Caulry, the winners of which would be almost guaranteed to get to the final. After a brilliant match the girls were unlucky to lose out by a single point. The girls finished out their season with a defeat to Killucan and a comprehensive win over Goldsmith Girls.
Overall given the lack of numbers at this grade, the girls did very well in a tough division. Special mention to the under-12 girls who stepped up and gained in confidence with every game. Thanks to all mentors that helped out over the course of the year and to the parents who supported the players.
Under-12 Girls The under-12 girls had their first training session on 11th of March. Unfortunately, the country went into Covid-19 lockdown shortly afterwards which meant the squad did not get together again until 1st of July. By the time the squad returned to training, the County Board had decided that there would be no competitive championship at under-12 in 2020.
Instead, the clubs were organised into four separate regional groups with a county series to be played off on a round robin go-games basis. The girls also played a number of challenge matches throughout the season with St. Brigids, St. Joseph’s, Goldsmith Girls, Clann na nGael and Kinnegad. A plan to host to St. James from Galway city in mid-September unfortunately had to be deferred due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
A word of thanks to Tormeys Solicitors for sponsoring a set of socks and shorts for the players. Many thanks to the coaches and mentors - Brian Murphy, Brian Ganly, John Quilty, Lydia Hogan, Diarmuid O’Cluaid and Ciara McGovern. A word too for a very supportive set of parents and guardians who have made it very easy to manage a large squad, and who have done everything we have asked of them, in difficult circumstances sometimes, with the return to play protocols etc.
Under-8 Girls The under-8 girls enjoyed approximately 15 training sessions, 2 very competitive games vs Castledaly in July and September, and participated in our very popular street league competition until a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the country meant a cessation of all contact sport activities.
Mentors: Ciáran O’Neill, Michael Nugent & Rhoda Costello. Additional assistance provided by Hazel Donegan, Jessica Frawley, Kayleigh Clyne and Emma Kearney.
Under-10 Girls The under-10 girls enjoyed some very beneficial training sessions before the end of this season. They enjoyed participating in ever popular Street League Competition before this was discontinued due to Covid-19 restrictions. The focus this year was on developing confidence and mastery of basic skills. They played 2 matches vs. Castledaly in July and September, and the progress that all players had made in that space of time was very evident. Well done to all.
Mentors: Karl Henson & Sinéad Cosgrove