here were cheers, tears and beers aplenty at the Greystones Golf Club last night as the town celebrated 25 years of ladies Gaelic football at the local Éire Óg.
Players came from near and far, and from last week and two decades ago, to share their stories.
And just to prove that the game was very much alive and very much kicking today, the new breed of local GAA stars took to the Greystones pitch in the afternoon, with the U10s, U12s and U14s – as well as the Mothers & Others team – taking on An Tochar, Kilcoole and Bray Emmetts.
But tonight was really all about marking those 25 years, and here’s young Emma Byrne with a little of that history…
The first team was set up following a meeting on a cold October night in 1997 where Oliver Leonard was elected chairman and Cecelia O’Neill secretary. There has been many great achievements since then, most accompanied by a drive through the town with flags flying and beeping horns.
The first 5 All Ireland medals came for the girls playing for Wicklow in 2011 when a match in Croke Park yielded gold for Lorna Fusciardi, Niamh Kelly, Laurie Ahern, Meadhbh and Caoilfhionn Deeney, with Maedhbh also awarded player of the match.
The second big day in Croke Park happened in 2022 when Wicklow beat Antrim to win the Junior Championship with Laurie, Caoilfhionn and Meadhbh getting their second All Ireland medal, and they were joined by Megan Healy and Katie Lawless for their first.
There have been many highlights for the Ladies Gaelic Football teams over the years, including, in the adult category, County Senior finalists in 2012 and 2008 Intermediate League winners, whilst the Juniors won the A Championships in 2008 and 2018, the B Championships in 2005 and 2017, plus the C Championship in 2022.
In the Underage category there was the 2006 Minor A Championship, the 2022 Under 14 A Championship, 2013, 2015 and 2020’s Under 12 B Championships, 2015 and 2018’s Under 14 B Championships and 2020, 2021 and 2022’s Under 16 B Championships. Their league titles were the 2014 Under 12 B, the 2022 Under 14 B, the 2018 Under 16 B and the 2023 Under 14 Division 3.
MC for the night was clubman Will Dalton, whilst the man with the camera was, as always, the mighty John McGowan.
You can check his full gallery of hi-res pics from the night here, where you’ll also find Emma’s fine history of ladies Gaelic football in Greystones.