GLASGOW GAELS (Scotland) 6-20 (38)
ST. BARNABAS (Warwickshire) 1-00 (3)
All-Britain Ladies’ JFC, Preliminary Round
By Anthony McLaughlin at the Emerald Centre, Leicester
The All-Britain Club Championships for 2023 are underway and already one club has laid down one serious marker.
GLASGOW Gaels made the long journey to the English East Midlands last Saturday as the Ladies’ Junior Football Championship took centre stage. Under the immense Leicester heat the Gaels produced a convincing performance against St. Barnabas to secure passage into a showdown with Manchester’s St. Lawrence’s later this month. The Lancashire Junior Champions retained their title last Saturday over Liverpool’s Wolfe Tones on a double day of finals between the cities of Manchester and Liverpool, John Mitchel’s taking the honours in the Intermediate Championship Final on a score line of 2-15 to 1-10 against Oisín.
On the evidence of last Saturday’s outing, it will take a considerable performance to deny Glasgow Gaels for they contain a panel with plenty of depth and a variety of attacking talent plus the experience and game-management capabilities that kept their Warwickshire opponents at bay. For Nottingham it may be the end of the championship road for 2023 but there are nothing but positives for them to build upon; ultimately, the toll of a heavily disrupted panel from their Warwickshire success the week prior proved too much to bridge.
The scoring from the Gaels proved as relentless as the sweltering conditions, Rebecca Dunne opening the scoring from the off as the midfielder set the tempo for her side across the sixty minutes. Wing-forward Cara Lennon got in on the action soon after by hoisting a shot over the bar and following up with the opening two goals of the game driven home from the right. Emer Brennan’s brace kept the momentum firmly with Glasgow as Nottingham struggled to get into the match, before the full-forward tucked home goal number three just before the interval.
With the likes of Síle Johnson, Maeve Keane and Laura Jane O’Neill missing from their county final success, Nottingham’s engine room lost a lot of the power that propelled them the previous weekend. To their credit, even with the oppressive heat and a game realistically out of their reach the towel was never thrown - reward for their endeavour coming early in the second-half thanks to a looping shot from Victoria Jones which found the far corner of the net.
For Glasgow Gaels goals in the second-half from Orla Donnelly, Orna Walsh and Gráinne Dart-O'Flynn kept the score ticking over as they ended the hour on a total of 6-20. With St. Barnabas improving their ball retention and territory towards the closing quarter, Gaels’ defensive shape - adeptly watched by full-back Louise McCulloch - proved too great a barrier despite Hannah Keenan going close just before full-time.
In 2022 it was the men of Glasgow Gaels who lifted an All-Britain Junior Championship, it may be very early days but in 2023 what price the ladies from the same club following suit? We'll find out over the coming weeks.
Glasgow Gaels: D Browne; U McCoy, L McCulloch (0-1), E Coultar (0-1); R Lennon (0-1), A Carberry (0-1), L Millet; O Donnelly (1-0), R Dunne (0-5); S Grew (0-2), G Dart-O’Flynn (1-1), C Lennon (2-1); E Cullen-Darcy (0-2), J Treacy (0-1), E Brennan (1-3). Subs: O Walsh (1-1, for Treacy 30).
St. Barnabas: F O’Carroll; K Corkery, M Harrison, H Dore; C Maloney, M Kirby, S Dirrane; L Turner Ramadan, L Kehoe; L Murphy, H Keenan, S Jones; R Sankey, S Jones (1-0), M Williams.
Referee: C Heffernan