The Bord Gáis Energy Teams of the League have been announced at an awards ceremony at Croke Park.
This is the third year that Bord Gáis Energy have sponsored the Ladies Football National Leagues and these awards honour those players, across all four divisions, that delivered on a consistent basis for their counties over their respective league campaign.
In total 26 counties are represented in the 60 players selected and each player was presented with a specially commissioned kit to mark their achievement.
The selection process is led by team managers and referees who were asked to nominate players after each round of league matches – naturally enough managers are precluded from voting for their own players.
Speaking at the announcement Pat Quill, President of Ladies Gaelic Football said, “It is a great personal honour for the players to be selected. All counties have talented players and these awards may be the only opportunity that players from counties who do not reach the final stages of competitions get to be recognised.
“I thank the county managers and referees for their diligence in their nominations. These are also coveted awards by the managers in recognition of their team building skills. It has been a wonderful evening of interaction and friendships and I thank Bord Gáis Energy for their foresight in honouring these talented members of our Association.”
Ger Cunningham, Sports Sponsorship Manager at Bord Gáis Energy, said, “I’d like to firstly congratulate all the players who have been recognised here tonight. The Teams of the League has become a set piece event in the Ladies Football calendar at this stage and I know the announcement is eagerly awaited once the finals are complete.
“Bord Gáis Energy’s sponsorship of ladies football is an association we are very proud of and we are delighted to be able to support you in developing the game and raising its profile with initiatives like this that recognise the dedication put into the organisation across the country.”
Cork, who secured an impressive fourth league title in a row this year, not surprisingly lead the way with five players selected on the Division 1 Team of the League, including their inspirational captain Amy O’Shea. League finalists Laois are well represented with three players, as are Kildare who managed to build on last year’s promotion from Division 2 with a very solid maiden campaign in the top flight.
The strength of Ladies Football in Ulster in also well represented with two players selected from Monaghan – the McAnespie twins – and one player each from Tyrone and Donegal in Cathy Donnelly and Geraldine McLaughlin.
Division 2 champions Dublin will be thrilled with their contingent as they secured six places and with a goalkeeper and four defenders among them, perhaps it shows where others felt their true strength lay throughout a dominant league campaign.
The other nine places were shared between five counties with Meath leading the way with four places – Shauna Bennett, Katie O’Brien, Gráinne Nulty and Mary Sheridan – while Cavan, the only team to beat Dublin all year, took home two selections for Gráinne McGlade and Aisling Doonan. Armagh, Waterford and Sligo completed the Division 2 Team of the League selection with one player each.
Seven teams are represented on the Division 3 Team of the League with finalists Clare and Fermanagh accounting for nine places. Clare, as champions, lead the way with five places including three of their forward unit – Niamh Keane, Eimear Considine and Niamh O’Dea. Fermanagh will be more than content with their allocation of four, while Wexford, Down, Leitrim, Limerick and Wicklow are all represented.
History was made in April as Westmeath won a first ever National League title and while this will have made their year, four places on the Bord Gáis Energy Team of the League will have put the icing on it. Gemma Leahy, Tríona Durkan, Ruth Kearney and Karen Hegarty fly the flag for the Lake County but six other counties also received recognition, including league finalists Roscommon with three and Derry, Louth, Offaly, Carlow and Antrim.
Bord Gáis Energy Division 1 Team of the League
1. Elaine Harte (Cork) 2. Aisling Quigley (Laois) 3. Gráinne Dunne (Laois) 4. Aoife McAnespie (Monaghan) 5. Briege Corkery (Cork) 6. Bríd Stack (Cork) 7. Aisling Holton (Kildare) 8. Joanne Timmons (Kildare) 9. Tracey Lawlor (Laois) 10. Cathy Donnelly (Tyrone) 11. Valerie Mulcahy (Cork) 12. Amy O’Shea (Cork) 13. Geraldine McLaughlin (Donegal) 14. Noelle Earley (Kildare) 15. Ciara McAnespie (Monaghan)
Cork = 5, Laois = 3, Kildare = 3, Monaghan = 2, Tyrone = 1, Donegal = 1
Bord Gáis Energy Division 2 Team of the League
1. Clíodhna O’Connor (Dublin) 2. Sinéad Goldrick (Dublin) 3. Gráinne McGlade (Cavan) 4. Ailish McKenna (Dublin) 5. Gemma Fay (Dublin) 6. Shauna Bennett (Meath) 7. Siobhan McGrath (Dublin) 8. Katie O’Brien (Meath) 9. Caroline O’Hanlon (Armagh) 10. Gráinne Nulty (Meath) 11. Michelle Ryan (Waterford) 12. Aisling Doonan (Cavan) 13. Sinead Aherne (Dublin) 14. Mary Sheridan (Meath) 15. Noelle Gormley (Sligo)
Dublin = 6, Meath = 4, Cavan = 2, Waterford = 1, Sligo = 1, Armagh = 1
Bord Gáis Energy Division 3 Team of the League
1. Mary Rose Kelly (Wexford) 2. Nuala Curran (Fermanagh) 3. Lorraine Kelly (Clare) 4. Leona Tector (Wexford) 5. Sinead Fegan (Down) 6. Tara Little (Fermanagh) 7. Marcella Connolly (Fermanagh) 8. Caoilfhionn Deeney (Wicklow) 9. Louise Henchy (Clare) 10. Sharon Little (Fermanagh) 11. Niamh Keane (Clare) 12. Eimear Considine (Clare) 13. Niamh O’Dea (Clare) 14. Dymphna O’Brien (Limerick) 15. Áine Tighe (Leitrim)
Clare = 5, Fermanagh = 4, Wexford = 2, Down = 1, Leitrim = 1, Limerick = 1, Wicklow = 1
Bord Gáis Energy Division 4 Team of the League
1. Gemma Leahy (Westmeath) 2. Nuala O’Hagan (Derry) 3. Tríona Durkan (Westmeath) 4. Clare Kelly (Roscommon) 5. Sandra Lynch (Louth) 6. Sinéad Cooney (Roscommon) 7. Christine McDonald (Offaly) 8. Tracey Kelly (Derry) 9. Ruth Kearney (Westmeath) 10. Jenny Higgins (Roscommon) 11. Leah Mullins (Carlow) 12. Mairéad Cooper (Antrim) 13. Karen Hegarty (Westmeath) 14. Ailisha Wilkinson (Derry) 15. Maria Reid (Louth)
Westmeath = 4, Derry = 3, Roscommon = 3, Louth = 2, Offaly = 1, Carlow = 1, Antrim = 1