20 YEARS OF KILCOCK LADIES GAA:
By Robert Cox
On behalf of all involved with The Kilcock Ladies, I would like to welcome all club members, and visitors to the GAA this weekend to help us celebrate this momentous occasion, the 125th anniversary of Kilcock GAA. And though we have not been around this long, we too have something special to celebrate this year, 2012 sees the 20th year since our foundation back in 1992. And what a twenty years it has been too, we have had our ups and downs but we have done so much on and off the pitch and in and out of the county to help with what has become the fastest growing sport in the country in that time. We along with Eadstown are the two oldest Ladies’ clubs in the county and our first assembled team won the Kildare Senior Championship in that memorable first year. With more teams joining soon after, we went through a bit of a barren spell in terms of trophies but never failed to field a team and our numbers continued to expand throughout the 90’s with the help of managers such as Martin Kiely and Martin Brennan.
It was not until the turn of the century that the we started to kick on again, thanks mainly with the help of a large number of younger girls starting to take a keen interest in the sport. Names such as Sheena and Linda Byrne, Bernie Durkan, Fiona Campion and Therese Macken were all involved when the we lost narrowly to Carbury in the 2001 Junior B Championship Final under the guidance of Shane Stone. And those names above must be given great credit as they all still pull on the green and gold at the top level to this day and Stone himself is back at the helm for his second stint in charge. 2003 again brought with it final appearances, this time two. And though the Junior B Championship final saw us lose to Na Fianna, there was some solace found in defeating Moorefield in the Division 3 League Final, with Eileen Collins in charge. With the league trophy following the 1992 silverware into the trophy cabinet, it had not been a bad first ten years or so and though the team was young, some members of that team took it upon themselves to ensure the future of the club would be safe and took the most important step in our young club’s history. They set up our underage section of the Kilcock Ladies in 2004. One can not imagine how important this has been to us, a club who at times struggled to find fifteen girls to don the jersey in years past. And where as now days there is a constant conveyor belt of girls as young as fourteen for the senior team to pick from, past managers such as Eugene Kearney in 2005 and Robert cox in 06, 07 08 and part of 09 must be admired for their work done with such limited resources. The setting up of the underage began to bear fruit after only a year, when senior players Linda Byrne and Grainne Gormley guided an u-15 side to final success in 2005.That successful side was captained by current senior player Shanon Byrne. Manager Sheena Byrne took her u-11 and u-12 teams to consecutive finals but unfortunately they were beaten in both. 2008 brought the start of what has been a great last few years, with then senior manager Robert Cox along with Linda Byrne winning at minor level for the first time, in a championship final against Athy, they were fortunate enough to manage a very talented side that included names such as Shona and Orla Cagney, Aoife Divily, Noelle Conlon and Emma Robinson. An u-16 runner up spot had to suffice in 2009, with the minor class of 2010 suffering the same fate, with Athy gaining some revenge for times past. At this stage you might be saying to yourself that there is a bit of a trend starting to appear with so many teams just falling short and with the u-15 side of 2011 been added to that list you have a right too but all the hard work at underage level has recently just paid off with Shane Stone leading his minor side of 2012 to a well earned victory last month in the minor shield. For many of this side it was long overdue, as for all their work over the years, they just seemed to fall at the final hurdle.
So with Robert Cox stepping down in the middle of 2009, John Mulligan took over the reigns at senior level for remainder of that year and 2010 and can be happy with his time here as he led the ladies to a championship final v Carbury in 2010, only to be beaten by a single point. A league runner-up spot was also gained in that year.
2011 saw Stone back with Cox as selector alongside David Hynes and Seamus Kane and finally things started to click in all departments as the ladies bounced back from a league final loss to Ballykelly, to beat Kilcullen in The Junior B Championship final. It was long overdue after so much heartache in the previous twenty years. The introduction of the underage has to be put down as the pivotal moment in that time and has insured that the current crop of girls can fear nobody, both this year at Junior A level and in the future. Alan Hansen once said ”you win nothing with kids”. Try telling that to those of us who now reap the benefits of having kids that compete on all underage teams as well as the senior team. Such examples are our current county players at u-12 Tara Devine and Saoirse Shannon, at u-14 Aisling O’Connor and at minor Caoimhe Fagan.
Last year also saw another landmark for the Ladies of the club when the Gaelic For Mothers team was set up and trained by Calvin Murphy. They hosted and took part in a Gaelic For Mothers Blitz late last year and continue to train away once a week with Calvin. As with all of the ladies teams within the club, new players and members are always welcome. There are too many people to thank for getting us to where we are today, so if you have helped us in anyway over the past twenty years, we thank you very much. Kilcock Ladies hope you enjoy our celebrations over the weekend and take with you a long lasting memory of a very special weekend for all involved and help us look forward to the next 125 years!!