History: The West Awake With Ladies Football

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association was founded in 1974 in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Galway was the only County from Connacht who attended that meeting.
Galway and Roscommon took part in the first official competition played at senior level.
In the beginning there were five competitions played at National level, U-16 Championship, Senior Championship, Senior League, Senior Club Championship and an Interprovincial Tournament.

Records as regards when we formed our Connacht Ladies Gaelic Football Council Board is pretty scant, but we have minutes of a meeting held on 10th of March 1975. The next meeting was held on 5th May 1976, followed by three more meetings for that year, all of these meetings were held in the Central Hotel, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo.
Connacht Ladies Gaelic Football Council Board Officers for 1975 were Chairperson Lynda Colgan, Vice Chairperson Ann Finn, Secretary Pat Freaney, Assistant Secretary Chris Boyle, joint Treasurers Margaret Flanagan and Lis Chambers, P.R.O. Marian Murphy.
1976 remained the same except Margaret Flanagan became secretary and Ann Connolly assistant secretary.
The first minutes of an AGM that we have to hand was held in 1977 in Tully's Hotel, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon. Officers elected on that night were:
Chairperson re elected Lynda Colgan
Vice Chairperson Ann Naughton
Secretary Margaret Egan
Treasurer Josephine Moylette.
Like all new things starting off it took a while to get established but we have grown from strength to strength.

In Connacht the first competitive competition that was contested was at U-16 level in 1975. Thirty-six years on many records have been broken. Ironically Theresa Ward (nee Higgins) who captained Mayo on that historical day was awarded by her local GAA club in Claremorris in January of 2007 with a Hall of Fame Award.

We began a U-12 Championship in Connacht in 2002 as Counties were eager to play as they all had U-12 club competitions.
Galway and Mayo contested the final with the latter winning where they played hosts to a junior semi-final also between the same two Counties.
Galway won in 2003. 2004 Mayo and back to Galway again for the 2005 title. Mayo won the last two titles in 2006 and 2007. We ceased the competition as quick as we started it as; it was felt that having competitive games for young girls was not in the best interest. To host non-competitive competition, fun, blitz and skill days would be more attractive.

The U-14 Championship commenced at National and Connacht level in 1990. Mayo won the first three 1990, 1991, 1992 by beating Roscommon. Roscommon beat Mayo in 1993. Mayo then won four in a row 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 as well as 1999 and 2000 title.
Galway won their first U-14 in 1998 and again in 2001 and 2002.
Mayo won again in 2003 and 2004. Galway captured the title again in 2005. Galway have also won the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 A Connacht titles by defeating Mayo and again in 2011 by defeating Leitrim.
2006 saw the introduction of a B competition which Sligo and Roscommon contested, Sligo took their first ever U-14 title.
Roscommon beat Leitrim for the B Connacht title in 2007and 2009 with Leitrim reverting the honours in 2010; Roscommon beat Mayo in the 2008 and 2011 decider.
This leaves Leitrim to win at U-14 grade.

The first U-16 Championship final between Mayo and Roscommon in 1975 was won by Mayo.
In 1976 the same two teams played in the final with Mayo winning their second Connacht title. Mayo was going for three in a row in 1977, once again their opponents being Roscommon. Roscommon overturned the table to take their first title.
From 1977 to 1982 Roscommon has won and represented Connacht on the national scene. The competition was not played for in the years 1978, 1979, 1982, 1985 or 1986.
Our records show that Roscommon represented Connacht in 1979 and 1981.
1983 and 1984 Galway won these two Connacht titles by beating Leitrim. Mayo won 1987 and Roscommon finished out the eighties 1988 and 1989.
Mayo won seven U-16 Connacht titles in the nineties 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Roscommon two 1991 and 1995.
Galway took the last one in 1999, and continued their winning stride and has won the first five of naughties decade, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Galway again contested the 2005 final against Mayo with Mayo beating them. Mayo retained the title again in 2006 by beating Galway which had now become the A title. In 2007 and 2008 Leitrim faced Galway for the A title and the holders held onto their title.
Like the U-14 we introduced a B competition in 2006. Sligo withdrew at semifinal stage so Roscommon went onto represented Connacht. 2008 Roscommon saw off Mayo in the B final and in 2009 beat Leitrim in the B final. Sligo and Mayo contested the 2007 B title which was won by the Yeats County girls to take their first U-16 Connacht title.
2009 was another A title for Galway this time against Mayo. In 2010 Sligo stepped up another gear and defeated Galway for the A title where Mayo took Roscommon for the B title. 2011 back to old rivals once again with Galway and Mayo with the Tribes Ladies taking the A honours. In the B final of 2011 Leitrim defeated Roscommon.

The Minor Championship at National and Connacht also began the same year in 1980. The first two years were contested by Roscommon and Leitrim where they won one each, Roscommon in 1980 and Leitrim 1981.
The next four years Leitrim were the only minor team in Connacht.
In 1986 the competition was played for again, Mayo won in 1986, 1987 and 1989. Roscommon won in 1988. In the nineties Roscommon won the first three 1990, 1991 and 1992, and then Mayo won eight Connacht titles in a row 1993 to 2000 inc, and again in 2003.
Galway may have being late starters as it took them until 2001 to take their first minor title. They held onto the cup for 2002, it slipped their grasp in 2003, but since then 2004 - 2007 inc hold the title.  2008 it took 160 minutes before Mayo were crowned Connacht champions over Galway where in 2009 and 2010 Galway won back the title by defeating Mayo in the final. 2011 saw Galway defeat Roscommon.
2009 there was a B competition introduced for minor grade with Roscommon and Sligo been the first contesters and Roscommon taking the title, in 2010 Roscommon put back to back titles by defeating Leitrim. In 2011 Mayo defeated Leitrim for the B title.

Our Junior Connacht Championship began in 1985, Galway were the first Connacht champions and they went all the way and took the first Junior All Ireland title. Now all our five Counties have won Provincial titles. The last to join the fray was Sligo in 1993 and they won in 1995, 1996 with them being only two years in existence. Again Sligo have taken three in a row 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Mayo won two titles in the eighties in 1986 and 1987, again in 1991 and 1994.
Leitrim won their first title in 1988 again in 1999 and 2006.
Roscommon in 1993, 1997, 1998 and 2001.
Galway again won in 1989, 1990, 1992, 2000 and 2002.
So to date Galway has won six Connacht titles, Sligo five, Mayo and Roscommon four each and Leitrim three.
We had no junior competition in 2007.

2007 at National level we had the revamping of the championships where we had Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo in the Senior championship.
Leitrim were graded to play intermediate championship, where they competed outside the providence for the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup. Galway had a second team where they played for a new championship called the Aisling McGing Memorial Cup. Mayo took part in the Aisling McGing Memorial Cup competition in 2009. Neither of our counties had much luck to date. In the five years of this competition to date Cork beat Dublin in four all finals, 2010 Dublin won.

In 2008 in Connacht we decided to have a competition which we named Junior Championship Tournament this was to develop junior status players in the Province where some of these players may go on to senior status. On the other hand it gave an oppournity to players to wear their county jersey. Ladbrokes.com came on board with sponsorship for this competition. Galway entered two teams the first year Galway West which took in all clubs from the city to the west and the remainder of the clubs played for Galway. Leitrim and Roscommon also entered their second teams. The 2008 final was contested by Roscommon and Connemara, Roscommon won by three points 2-18 to 3-12 for Connemara.
Ladbrokes.com player of the match was Mairead Ni Chadhain Connemara.
2009 again we had four Counties participating, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. Final was contested between Galway and Mayo with Galway winning by 3-13 to 2-7.
Ladbrokes.com player of the match was Gillian O'Connor Galway.

Our Senior Connacht Championship was first played for in 1975 between Galway and Roscommon with Galway been crowned the champions. The following year 1976 Mayo and Galway played in the final and Mayo won.
Roscommom took the next two titles by beating Galway. Galway won the last one of the seventies (1979) and the first of the eighties (1980) by beating Roscommon.
Now Leitrim were the new kids on the block as they affiliated to Cumann Peil Gael na mBan in 1980 and stamped their mark from the word go. Ladies football had been played in Leitrim prior to 1980 but not at a competitive grade.
Leitrim won five consecutive Senior titles from 1981 to 1985 inclusive.
Galway won in 1986. 1987 shows no competition.
Mayo won the next three 1988, 1989 and 1990.
Leitrim won the next two in 1991 and 1992.
From 1993 to 2001 inclusive the competition had not been played for, as Mayo was the only senior team in Connacht, where they have not alone represented their County but their province with pride.
2002 took on a whole new meaning for us here in Connacht where we hosted a double header Junior and Senior Championship Connacht Finals in McHale Park, Castlebar.
Also we secured a major sponsorship deal for five years, as well as a Perpetual Senior Championship Cup from CBE of Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
Mayo who had contested the last three Senior All Ireland Finals and the newly crowned Junior All Ireland Champions of 2001 Roscommon competed for the senior title with Mayo winning on a score line of 3-10 to 2-8, at McHale Park, Castlebar.
Also 2002 has been a very special year for us here in Connacht in many ways as we have once again a senior championship competition and Galway the recently crowned Junior All Ireland Champions of 2002 have joined the senior ranks with Roscommon and Mayo.
The ladies of Galway and Mayo made history in 2002 in Croke Park when they won Junior and Senior All Ireland Championships and the following day both teams joined hands to carry the Brendan Martin and the West County Hotel Cups across the bridge in Athlone together into the West.
This was history in the making for the ladies of Connacht and we may never see the likes again.
2003 had the new champs Galway and Mayo compete for the final. Mayo took the honors. 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 the same two Counties contested the final and Galway won the first three titles and Mayo took the title in 2007. 2004 Galway went all the way for glory and brought Brendan Martin once again home to the West, where he has lived for five of the last six years.
In 2005 Galway again played in Croke Park against Cork the new kids on the block where they conquered the title in their first appearance. 2007 Mayo were once again playing in Croke Park where they met with Cork who were going for three in a row, and they did so by beating Mayo by five points.
2008 saw Sligo contesting the senior final for the very first time with Mayo which was played in McHale Park Castlebar. It was an easy win for Mayo when they scored 3-15 to 0-9 against Sligo. Marcella Heffernan was chosen as TG4 player of the final.
Mayo were back in the 2009 final once again, this time with Galway which was played at Fr. O'Hara Pitch Charlestown Co. Mayo. Galway took this tile by 3-13 to 2-8 for Mayo. TG4 player of the final going to Patricia Gleeson of Galway. 2010 Sligo were back again in the final at Kilcoyne Park Tubbercurry to host Galway with the cup returning to Galway. 2011 saw Mayo meet Galway in Tuam Stadium where Mayo reclaimed back the CBE cup.

We have Club Championship at Junior, Intermediate and Senior grades in Connacht.

Connacht Junior commenced in 1997. Both Leitrim and Sligo would be regarded as been the smallest Counties playing ladies football where between them they have won the first five titles.
Aughawillan of Leitrim won the first two. The next three were won by Sligo clubs 1999 St. Nathy's, 2000 Cloonacool and 2001 Ballymote. The 2002 champions were St. Mary's of Roscommon who beat St. Mary's of Sligo in the final. Galway clubs Dunmore MacHales won in 2003 and Grainne Mhaols won in 2004. Oran of Roscomman was the 2005 Connacht Champions by defeating Naomh Anna Leitir Mor of Galway. Tuam/Cortoon of Galway contested the 2006 Connacht final against Cill Chomain of Mayo; Tuam/Cortoon proved much too strong and was crowned Connacht champions. After a titanic final of 2007 with two periods of extra time the title went to Curry of Sligo when they defeated Kilbride of Roscommon. Knockmore of Mayo emerged to take the title in 2008 against Four Roads of Roscommon.
2009 Drumcliffe/Rosses Point of Sligo had a second day out with St. Patrick's Dromahair of Leitrim before they were crowned Connacht Champions.
2010 Caltra/Cuans of Galway defeated Tourmakeady of Mayo for the title. Another Galway club took the title for 2011 Claregalway beat Cloonacool/Tubbercurry of Sligo.

Connacht Intermediate Club Championship commenced in 1999 where Kilkeerin/Clonberne of Galway was first off the mark, followed by Padraig Pearses of Roscommon in 2000.
Third title went back to Galway again where St. Brendans Ballygar were the champions. In 2002 Moy Davitts of Mayo and Clan na nGael of Roscommon met in the Connacht final with Clan taken the title.
Kilmovee Shamrocks were the first club in Mayo to win a title in 2003.
St. Bridigs was the third club in Roscommon to take the title in 2004.
Aughawillan of Leitrim took the title in 2005 for the first time at this grade by defeating St. Nathy's of Sligo. This now gives Leitrim Senior status at club level where they join with Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
Geevagh of Sligo was the first Sligo Intermediate club to be crowned Connacht champions, and before they won the title they met twice with Annaghdown of Galway. They drew in Tourlestrane; the replay was in Tuam Stadium where they took the 2006 title. This now brings all our Counties up the senior club grade. 2007 gave St. Nathy's of Sligo the intermediate title when they beat Caherlistrane of Galway. In 2008 Tuam/Cortoon who were the junior champs of 2006 met Neale of Mayo in the final. Neale were our new champions for 2008. In 2009 Breaffy of Mayo were crowned Connacht intermediate champions when the defeated St. Michaels of Sligo.
St. Patrick's Dromahair of Leitrim took the 2010 title over the Galway champions Grainne Mhaols, while Clatra Cuans took their second Connacht title in a row this time over Drumcliffe Rosses Point of Sligo for the 2011 season.

Senior Club Championship is the longest running of the clubs. At National level it began in 1977. St. Comans and St. Barry's of Roscommon represented Connacht for 1977 and 1978 respectively.
In 1979 Connacht held the first competitive competition when Fr. Griffin's of Galway won the first two titles. Galway Gaels took the next four titles in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984.
Hollymount of Mayo took titles the following years 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997 and 1999.
St. Grellan's of Galway won in 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1993.
The Neale of Mayo won in 1994. Clan na Gael of Roscommon in 1995.
To bring us up to date Carnacon of Mayo have won in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 they just have completed five in a row. Again Carnacon contested the 2005 final against St. Brendan's Ballygar of Galway, here we saw new champions for the first time with St. Brendan's taking the title. Carnacon took the 2006 title by defeating the Roscommon champions St. Brigids Kiltoom. Carnacon had a back-to-back title in 2007 when they defeated Corofin of Galway. 2008 Carnacon defeated the Roscommon champions again St. Brigids Kiltoom. 2009 gave Carnacon four back to back titles this time it was Corofin the Galway champions they put away. 2010 and 2011 Carnacon met St. Brigids Kiltoom of Roscommon where they defeated them on both occasions leaving them with six in a row Connacht titles twelve in total.

Ladies Connacht Council decided to run a Club Senior League in 2000 because many of our Counties have only two or three senior clubs so as we would be better prepared who ever would be representing Connacht at National level. The games are 13 a side so as to accommodate clubs who may have players away and they could also play mid-week. The first final saw two Mayo teams competing Hollymount and neighbors Carnacon with Hollymount winning.
2001 we decided to amalgamate by allowing Junior and Intermediate clubs to take part; again Hollymount won by beating Corofin of Galway.
In 2002 Hollymount and Corofin were the finalists again and this time Corofin were crowned the champions. Corofin won again in '03 and Carnacon won in '04. In 2005 we had fifteen clubs participating with St. Brendan's Ballygar and Carnacon playing for the title with St. Brendan's Ballygar been crowned league champions for the first time. 2006 Corofin were back to wining ways again where they defeated Aughawillan of Leitrim in the final.
We did not run the competition in 2007.
Back in business again for 2008 with 20 clubs participating where we had two teams from Galway in the final. Corofin outscoring St. Brendan's Ballygar by 3-27 to 1-2.
Corofin again reached the 2009 final this time with Carnacon of Mayo. Carnacon did the business by scoring 6-14 and 3-9 to Corofin. Cloone and St. Mary's Carrick-on-Shannon played in the 2010 final with Cloone taking the honours. 2011 title was captured by Kilmovee Shamrock's of Mayo over St. Nathy's of Sligo.