Ladies Football

When writing a brief summary on the famous Kerry Ladies Football team of the `80s and `90s, one must dwell on events which led to its very beginning and the formation of the board. There was no official competition until 1974, when the Kerry County Board was founded. Around the same time, other County Boards were formed. Tipperary and Offaly contested the first All Ireland in 1974 with Tipperary the victors. Since then, ladies' football has made great progress all over thecountry.

The Kerry Ladies' football team has been very successful, winning their first senior title ever in 1976 against defending All Ireland champions, Offaly at Littleton, County Tipperary, on a scoreline of 4-6 to 1-5. The ladies team of the `80s and `90s must go down in history as one of the most honour laden teams of all times, winning two minor titles in 1980 and 1981, nine in-a-row senior All Ireland championships, and a tenth title in 1993. There were also numerous All Star awards, Interprovincial Championships and National League triumphs.

On the 13th of August, 1991, Kerry's ten-year reign as Munster Ladies gaelic football champions came to an end at Listowel when they were beaten by their main rivals down the years - Waterford - by 2-11 to 2-6. This was the first championship defeat for this great Kerry team since August, 1981. On this occasion, they found a determined Waterford side just too much. The reign of Kerry Lady Footballers was over.

Back Row: Mick Fitzgerald (Trainer), Phil Curran, Lil Horgan, Mary Jo Curran, Eileen O'Connor, Kathleen McElligott, Noreen Daly, Nora Foley, Siobhan Leen, Brigid Leen, Marion Doherty, Ann O'Halloran, Teresa Murphy, Tony Riordan (Manager/Selector)
Front Row: Sheila Twomey, Margaret Flaherty, Margaret Lawlor, Marina Barry, Tess Horgan, Eileen Lawlor, Annette Walsh, Margaret Sheehan, Patricia Farrell

The team was seeking its tenth All Ireland on the trot, but was beaten by the one team that had threatened to bring about its downfall for many years. But this great footballing side tried to the very end and went out of the championship with the dignity that one would expect from such a great team. It was a good sporting game, with some wonderful scores but time had taken its toll on the Kerry girls (as it was much the same panel for twelve years) and Waterford's speed and dash allied to some great skill deservedly carried the day.

Kerry got some consolation that year in the fact that Waterford went on to win the All' Ireland final by defeating Laois in Croke Park on Sunday, 13th October on a scoreline of 5-8 to 3-7.

In 1992 Kerry were again to suffer at the hands of Waterford when they took on the reigning Munster and All Ireland champions at Dungarvan on Saturday, August 29. This game was played in atrocious weather conditions. Bad weather inevitably affected the quality of football, but the game lacked nothing in thrills and excitement as victors and vanquished contributed handsomely to a memorable final. Kerry lost that day on a scoreline of 0-8 to 1-1.

FAMOUS NINE-IN-A-ROW
YEAR
CAPTAIN
CLUB
TEAMS
VENUE
SCORE
1982
Marion O'Doherty Desmonds Kerry v Offaly Nenagh 1-8 to 1-2
1983
Marina Barry Austin Stacks Kerry v Wexford Kilsheelan 4-6 to 1-7
1984
Brigid Leen Desmonds Kerry v Leitrim Timahoe 0-5 to 0-3
1985
Siobhan Leen Desmonds Kerry v Laois Pairc Ui Chaoimh 2-9 to 0-5
1986
Annette Walsh Desmonds Kerry v Wexford Croke Park 1-11 to 0-8
1987
Margaret Flaherty Desmonds Kerry v Westmeath Croke Park 2-10 to 2-2
1988
Mary Lane Desmonds Kerry v Laois Croke Park 2-12 to 3-3
1989
Kathleen Curran Beaufort Kerry v Wexford Croke Park 1-13 to 1-5

Kerry had to wait two years before they tasted championship victory once more. The year was 1993,the venue Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. The opposition - Waterford. This was a very close but very entertaining game, played with great spirit. and skill and, most important of all, in a very sporting manner. The score, Kerry 3-9 to Waterford's 2-11.
Kerry cruised into the All Ireland final by defeating a very weak and inexperienced Monaghan side at Austin Stacks Park, Tralee, by 8-11 to 0-7. And so Kerry were once again heading for the green sod of Croke Park.
It was said that they were only coming back for one last. hurrah, but what a hurrah it turned out to be as Kerry lifted their tenth women's All Ireland football trophy in twelve years, a record unlikely to be equalled, at the expense of a luckless Laois side who lost their fourth successive final by 4-8 to 2-6.
Kerry had some great footballers down the years, but mention must be made of the ladies of Ballymacelligott who played their part in this little piece of history.
I cannot end this article without giving a mention to a person in the parish who has p numerous hours into the game of ladies football. The person I speak of is local mechanic, Tony Riordan. A respected gentleman of the most honest and reliable nature, he is a true Gael and a man whose great devotion to his community often has gone and does go unnoticed. I am sure the aforementioned ladies would not disagree that if it were not for his advice and guidance, they would not be the holders of so many GAL honours. Again, Tony, from all the lady footballers of the parish of Ballymacelligott who have gained both on and off the field from your advice, thank you.



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MARY TWOMEY:
Honours won - All Ireland senior titles, 1982 and 1983; All Ireland club championship, 1980 (captain) and 1984; numerous County League and County Championship titles.
SHEILA TWOMEY:
Honours won - All Ireland senior titles in 1982 and 1983; All Ireland club titles, 1980 and 1984; All Ireland minor titles in 1980 and 1981; numerous County League and Championship titles.
SIOBHAN LEEN:Honours won - All Ireland senior tiles, 1982, 1983 and 1985 (captain); All Ireland club titles in 1980 and 1984; All Ireland minor titles, 1980 and 1981; numerous County League and Championship titles.
AINE O'DOHERTY:
Honours won - All Ireland club titles, 1980 and 1984; All Ireland Minor titles in 1980 and 1981; numerous County League and Championship titles.
JOSEPHINE LEEN:
Honours won - All Ireland club titles, 1980 and 1984; All Ireland minor title, 1981; numerous County League and Championship titles.
BRIDGID LEEN:
Honours won - 10 All Ireland senior titles (captain, 1984); one All Ireland minor title; two All Ireland club titles; 11 Munster Championships; nine National Leagues; six Interprovincials; five All Star awards; numerous County League and Championship titles.
MARION O'DOHERTY:
Honours won - 10 All Ireland senior titles (captain, 1982); two All Ireland minor titles; two All Ireland club titles; 11 Munster Championships; seven Interprovincial Championships; five All Star awards; 11 National Leagues
.