Chair hosts reception for All Ireland winning Loreto Under 16 ladies football team

20th May 2022


The Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, recently hosted a reception in Strule Arts Centre to mark the success of Loreto Grammar School U-16 Gaelic Football team in the All Ireland Post Primary Under 16 B Ladies Football competition.

Please see below, text of the speech delivered by Councillor Thompson at the event.

“Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all here this afternoon to Strule Arts Centre for this reception to recognise Loreto Grammar School’s success in the All Ireland Post Primary School Junior B Ladies football competition.

I understand the Team was crowned Ulster Champions following victory over opponents from Donegal, Tyrone and Down.  The final took place in the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown where your opponents were Assumption Grammar School from Ballynahinch, ironically coached by Loreto alumni, Joanne Barrett.  I understand that it was a breezy day and Assumption Grammar used this to their advantage in the first half, however, you continued to press forward and with a strong defence, you fought back with some superb scores.  This momentum proved vital leading into the break and with the wind in your favour in the second half you scored a few early goals and points and eventually running out convincing winners by 26 points on a scoreline of 9-7 to 1-5.  Your success in the Courtney Cup set up an All Ireland Semi Final with Leinster champions, Holy Faith, Clontarf.

In the semi-final you once again displayed great teamwork to emerge with a four point win and a well-deserved place in the final.

All roads led to  Duggan Park, Ballinasloe on 26 March 2022 an an eagerly awaiting tussle with Presentation Secondary School, Thurles.  I understand you started strongly with a 1-4 to 0-1 lead over Presentation, however, they produced a determined fight back to level the scores at half time.  A goal by Kelly McCaffrey inspired the team early in the second half, however, Presentation kicked three points in a row to level the match once again.  Presentation bounced back to take the lead, however, displaying great heart, grit and determination and a strong team effort you levelled the match at 3-5 to 2-8.  The desire to win was evident in both teams as everyone pushed forward to find the winner, however, it was a late free from Kelly McCaffrey that secured you the All Ireland title.

This is a fantastic achievement for the Team as no Ulster Team had won the title since 2008 and captain, Bree McBride became the first captain from a Tyrone school to lift the  cup for the  All Ireland PPS Junior B Ladies Gaelic Football championship.

Jesse Owens, an American Athlete, once said “We all have dreams.  But in order to make them a reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, discipline and effort”.

The success of the team is down to the invaluable contribution each of you made as well as your determination, dedication, discipline and effort, both in training and during each of the matches.

These are key attributes which you can transfer to your academic studies and the workplace and, following your performances on the field, I am confident that each of you possess these qualities in abundance to ensure that you achieve your dreams and personal goals.

It would be remiss of me  not to mention the significant contribution of your coaches, led by Miss McNabb, who gave up much of their spare time to ensure that you were as well prepared as possible for all the challenges so on your behalf can I thank and congratulate Miss McNabb and her coaching team for their contribution.

I would like to commend each of you on your success, you have done yourselves, your School, your family and friends, your County and your District proud and I wish you every success in your future endeavours.



Thank you.