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HISTORY
 
Development of Ladies Gaelic Football at Queen's
 

The early nineties saw the advent of Ladies football played at club and county level in Ulster. In 1992, Monaghan Ladies won the All-Ireland Junior title, and Ulster staged an inaugural Ulster Club Championship.

These events provided a catalyst to the growth of Ladies Gaelic in the province, that this would spread to College level was inevitable.

The Queens' University Ladies Gaelic Football Club was founded in 1993-94 by Maura McCabe (Enniskillen) and Maura McArdle (Killeavy), whose enthusiasm secured support from the Men's G.F.C. Established as an arm of the long standing QUB Gaelic Club , the Ladies set up their own committee and a team. The first Ladies Gaelic Team fielded in the inaugural Ulster League and Championship which was organised by the newly formed: Ulster Colleges Council.

The new season, 1994-95 saw Queen's Ladies adopt their own Constitution and were approved by the University as an independent Club, with about thirty active members. QUB participated for the first time at All-Ireland level in the O'Connor Cup. A second round defeat in this competition by UUJ saw the Poly progress to the Finals weekend of the All-Ireland. The date however clashed with their hosting of the Dowd Cup weekend. UUJ opted to play in the former and Queen's hosted the Dowd Cup at short notice. The Club's first attempt at such an undertaking proved very successful and QUB has proved to be a popular venue since.

In 1995-96 our taste for hosting led to the inaugural QUB Ulster 7-a-side Competition, co-ordinated by Martina McCafferty and Cathy Gallagher. This proved to be a well attended and highly successful event, not least because we won it!

QUB also applied successfully to Colleges Central Council to secure the hosting of the All-Ireland Championship weekend, the O'Connor Cup 1997. This would be the competition's first visit North in it's ten year existence. On the field Queens' participated in the inaugural Freshers All-Ireland 7-a-side Blitz, and performed admirably, despite only having seven Freshers!

In recognition of the clubs effort over such a short period of existence , the University Colours Committee awarded University Blues to qualifying members of the squad. At this ceremony , for not only her contribution to Ladies Gaelic but also QUB Snooker and Basketball, Cathy Gallagher was awarded QUB Sports Personality of the Year. Cathy is the first girl to receive this highest sporting honour and joins the ranks of Anthony Tohill and Paul Brewster in doing so.

1996-97 proved to be a breakthrough year on the pitch for Queens' Ladies. After narrow defeat in the league by old friends , the Poly, the girls set out to beat the bogie and bring home the Ulster Championship. Tremendous behind the scenes work went into this all out effort, and the Club as a whole received a huge boost when Captain Hayley Boyle lifted our first Dowd Cup.

A trojan effort was also underway to secure financial backing and co-ordinate the O'Connor Cup All-Ireland Championship Weekend. After ten matches and some extra time, this event culminated in a banquet for the 180 guests. Guest speaker, newly appointed President of Cumann Peil Gael na mBan, Noel Murray, praised the Queens' Club for the organisation of the whole event. Perhaps more importantly, the girls, many of whom had never been North before, thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
This year also saw the loss of many of the 'old school' Queens' girls as only twelve remained at the University.

However, success certainly does breed success, as Freshers Day 1997-98 proved. Instead of the usual cajoling, girls were actively seeking to join the Ladies Club.

With up to fifty girls consistently training, the committee set up a second team, vowing to 'find the money somewhere'. This team will participate in the Ulster and All-Ireland League series, The Ulster Championship and the All-Ireland Lynch Cup.

QUB also entered two teams in the All-Ireland Freshers 7's with the A Team, captained by Louth's Orlaith Kirk, winning the Shield, the first national medals to come to the University Ladies Gaelic Club. Hopefully the first of many!

 
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