Payslip sponsored Kilmeena Junior Ladies go all the way to the final!
An eventful year
Payslip have been proud sponsors of a local ladies Gaelic football team, based not far from our headquarters in Westport, Co Mayo. We like to keep ties with the local community, and we were intrigued by the passion and commitment of the ladies involved in this team.
We have been following their progress with interest throughout the summer and into the autumn and were delighted to see them go on a run of successful outings that took them all the way to the championship final in October.
From fairly humble beginnings, this was quite a journey for this team of talented ladies who came together with a common goal based on teamwork. Good healthy exercise, a chance to socialize with other women and a shared love of sport turned into a very exciting run of victories that stretched well beyond their initial expectations. Below is an open letter of appreciation from the team captain Sarah Horgan who summarizes the teams’ exciting journey in 2021.
An exciting journey
“Let’s rewind to the 2020 season – when our Kilmeena Junior Ladies couldn’t even field a team. It wasn’t for the lack of effort or passion, but merely a lack of appreciation for just how privileged we were at that time. We had an opportunity to play for our Club, share a common interest and love of sport, not to mention a chance to socialise with other girls from outside of our “bubble”. Strangely, the year absent from football benefitted us. It reignited the desire and determination we inadvertently craved to be part of a team again. Well, that, or the fact that everyone was out exercising in some form or another during lockdown and the notion of landing down to a pre-season training session wouldn’t be “that bad”!
It is difficult to imagine that we were ever in this position, especially considering our current panel consists of 39 girls and 6 management/coaches. Similarly, our 2021 season couldn’t have been possible without each member of the team and management volunteering their personal time; 24 weeks of training amounting to over 64 pitch sessions on top of 13 games. This is the level of ambition and commitment necessary to maintain our competitiveness and improve collectively as a team. In such a short space of time, we have managed to earn a spot in two finals; the league that we sadly lost in extra time, and the upcoming Championship final.
Team spirit and culture
Playing sport is so much more than just the physical aspects – it builds character and moulds friendships, and as a leader, I would hope for the team to remember that. Personally, I think that the fundamental duty of a captain’s role is to influence and maintain a friendly, positive and respectful environment so that as women we can empower one another. Win or lose, it’s also important to set a progressive example for younger girls – one that creates an inclusive and welcoming community in which they would like to belong. I trust that the younger girls of our parish can look up to the friendships our team has built over the course of the season, aspiring to have and be lucky enough to experience the same sense of community.
Outstanding women. United as a team.
I am privileged to have been chosen as Captain to this amazing bunch of ladies. This panel of women and band of management have lent a new lease of life into the team. A cliché of sorts, but there are no two girls the same – everyone has a unique personality, contributing different life experiences and characteristics to the teams’ environment. Some of the girls are in school or college, others are recent graduates or working professionals, and some of us are mothers.
Creating a cultural shift by encouraging women and girls to participate in and play sport is still a modern phenomenon. Our Kilmeena LGFA Club was recently established in 2013. It took us women 124 years to separate ourselves from the men’s Club. As such, supporting and nurturing the development of our LGFA Club over the next few years is crucial to ensure our continued success. For our small and rural community, located on the outskirts of Westport town, to recognise and have an independent ladies club is an extraordinary achievement. But what’s even more phenomenal is that I am fortunate enough to Captain this incredible team on what I can only hope to be a long, enjoyable and memorable journey.
On behalf of our Kilmeena Ladies Junior team and management, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude and thanks to Fidelma and all of the team at Payslip for this season’s sponsorship. We are so appreciative of your support and generosity and can only hope that this experience was just as exciting for you all as it was for us.
Cpt. Kilmeena Junior Ladies.
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