Council Chair hosts reception for Derrygonnelly Harps GFC Ladies

5th April 2023

Derrygonnelly Harps Ladies GFC (1)

Recently the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Barry McElduff, hosted a reception for Derrygonnelly Harps GFC Ladies in recognition of their history making season.  The following is the speech which was delivered by the Chair at the reception:

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all to the Townhall, Enniskillen this evening for this reception in honour of Derrygonnelly Harps Ladies Team in recognition of your history making season.

The winning season started on 25 September 2022 with a 1-9 to 1-8 win over Kinawley Brian Borus in the Division 1 League Final.  This was the first time the Club had won the County title.

The following weekend it was action replay as you met Kinawley Brian Borus in the Senior Championship Final at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.  I understand this was a very competitive match, however, you were narrowly beaten by Kinawley on this occasion.

The team showed great resilience and did not dwell on the disappointment as you ran out against Newtownbutler First Fermanagh Ladies the following week in the County Intermediate Championship and secured the win.

The next match in the County Intermediate Championship was on 16 October 2022 against Tempo Maguires Ladies which you won emphatically with a 3-11 to 0-7 scoreline.

Next up was the Ulster Intermediate Championship.  Wins against Co Down Champions, Bredagh B, on 23 October 2022 and Moortown, Co Tyrone on 30 October 2022 secured your place in the Ulster Intermediate Championship Final against Castlerahan-Deen from Cavan.  This match was played on 06 November 2022 at O’Neill’s Healy Park, Omagh.

I understand this was a tightly contested match, however, an outstanding performance by Eimear Smyth who scored all but two of the points, helped you to clinch the title.  This earned you a much deserved homecoming through Main Street, Derrygonnelly which I know you will remember for many years to come.

There was no time to celebrate too long as a quarter final match against All Britain Champions, Round Towers London, had to be played on Saturday 19 November 2022 in Rulslip, West London.  This was another emphatic win for the team as you emerged victorious with a 4-13 to 1-8 scoreline and a place in the All Ireland Intermediate Club Semi Finals.

Your opponents in the semi final were Munster Champions, Mullinahone of Tipperary in Co Kilkenny on 27 November 2022.  This was a hard fought game which had many twists and turns including a controversial disallowed goal.  The match went to extra time and in the second period you led by two points, however, a Mullinahone goal with just five minutes to go changed the game and the Tipperary side won by two points.

As well as playing for Derrygonnelly Harps, a number of you also played for the Fermanagh Ladies Senior Team – Andrea Gordon as Team Captain, Brenda Bannon as Vice Captain and Keira Elliott, Eimear Smyth and Sarah-Jane James.  This team qualified for the All Ireland Junior Final losing out on a replay to Antrim.

2022 will be a year you will all remember for many years as you made history for the Club by winning the Fermanagh Division 1 League, Fermanagh Intermediate Championship and Ulster Club Intermediate Championship.  Each of you can be proud of the part you played in making history.

Being part of a sports team requires great commitment to attend training every week and the matches, which are always at the weekend.  To manage this alongside your work, college and family commitments is to be truly admired and you are an inspiration to many other young ladies.

On behalf of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and on my own behalf, I would like to commend the coaching team of Hughie Kelly, Francie Hoy and Garry Smyth who looked after the Senior Ladies Team.  The leadership, coaching and support you provided to the ladies was invaluable.  I also commend you on your commitment to the Team and the Club.

Finally, I would like to congratulate each and every player in the team on your achievements and commend you for your hard work over the years which has certainly paid off.

You have done yourselves, your family and friends, your Club, your County and your District proud and I wish you continued success in the years ahead.

Thank you.