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Exciting Times and Awards For Ladies Football.
Most footballers will tell you that individual awards are grand but football is a team game and winning as a team is all that matters. To an extent anyone who has followed Gaelic Football for any length of time would realise how true that is. However when the dust of a hard season has settled and thoughts begin to turn to other seasonal activities individual awards and recognition take on a greater degree of significance.
Following their defeat in the All Ireland Final the Tyrone players struggled to come to terms with what was a serious beating in any man’s terms. I have often said one defeat does not make you a bad team and those players who suffered at the hands of an excellent Dublin side deserved credit for getting to the final and raising the profile of Ladies Football in Tyrone. Their defeat of Cork in the quarter final in particular was probably the best team display of the entire year. The whole team played superbly that day and the national press suddenly sat up and took notice. Tyrone and their players were now featuring on a much higher plane than before and with that comes expectation and recognition. Such recognition increases a player’s chances of All Star selection but performances ultimately decide who gets the nod. A disappointing display like the one in the final can often end the chances of many players of making the final fifteen.
Thankfully last night at the City West Hotel south of Dublin the players were judged on their efforts over the whole season and not on that one disappointing game. As a result Tyrone picked up four All Star Awards for team captain and corner back Sinead Mc Laughlin, centre half forward and championship top scorer Gemma Begley and, for the first time ever, a pair of sisters Cathy and Joline Donnelly were chosen together for awards. These are very much individual in their design but without a successful team around them I would doubt if too many of these four recipients would have been on the stage last night. The awards are as much recognition of the team and for the team and should be seen as such.
Tyrone have now won Eleven Ladies All Stars and these latest awards will give a further boost to the game in The Red Hand County. The game is continuing to grow and with proper planning and close co-operation with the Men’s County Board it should continue to go from strength to strength. Hopefully it will not be too long until we are celebrating further awards for players who were encouraged to take up the game having been inspired by the fight and determination shown by the class of 2010 under their leader and captain Sinead Mc Laughlin.