Gaelic4Mothers and Others is in initiative introduced in 2008 by the Ladies Gaelic Football Association which encourages mothers and other women who may have not had the opportunity, to get involved in Gaelic Football.
The programme is in full swing in Kinlough and Melvin Gaels Ladies have reaped the rewards of getting together every Wednesday evening for training sessions. Set up last year by local woman Anne McGloin and benefiting from the coaching of senior players Stephen McGurran, Paul Brennan and Daniel Branley, the group have gone from strength to strength.
When the group started up in Kinlough last year, under the direct guidance of Anne McGloin, they had a brilliant reaction and the numbers have grown from there, the average ages are from mid 20s to over 40s and a few 50s taking part. It is an excellent way to keep fit and to meet new people.
The initiative encourages women to get their recommended weekly exercise in a fun and non-competitive environment, while meeting like minded people. It has proved hugely successful across the country with hundreds of women participating.
To date, the Kinlough club are the only Leitrim side to have signed up to the programme. Anne hopes that once the awareness of Gaelic4Mothers and Others is raised, more teams will be established throughout the county.
“So far there are only teams from Roscommon, Galway and Mayo that we can go up against. It would be great if we could set up more Leitrim based sides to play against each other.”
Antoinette Ryan, previously Kelly, has been with this group since it started and has never looked back. Her connection to Melvin Gaels started in 1953 when her Uncle Robert Kelly, along with others, formed the club in the kitchen in Gilmartin’s Pub. Her Uncle Jim also played alongside his brother Robert and her dad Thomas was a Selector.
On the other side of the house, her husband John’s Uncles Sean and Paddy Walsh played club and college hurling in Tipperary from 1954 - 1958.
Due to all this GAA influence her 3 sons are keeping her very busy, Shane is a member of the U21 panel, Liam is a member of the U16 panel and Leo is a member of the U14 panel.
Not to be outdone, her daughter Shauna has played for her primary school, Four Masters School Kinlough where she captained the girls team and won the county title and also as captain of the boys team, won the U12 championship. Playing senior football with Bundoran Ladies she broke her leg badly and has not played since.
“Since joining this group it has given me a different outlook,” said Anne, “I have always supported the Gaels down through the years from Vice chairperson of Bord na nOg, registrar, Treasurer of the Senior Club and helping to co-ordinate the lotto but it certainly makes a change when I’m having to wash not only the boys gear but my own as well.
“It is a great fitness, social and networking group and would recommend that every club should join up. I would also like to say a very big thank you, from all the ladies, to the three lads Stephen, Paul and Daniel, for all their training and support.”
Training takes place every Wednesday evening at 8pm in Kinlough and anyone interested in taking part can contact Anne on 087 1337968. Those who wish to set up their own team can contact Paula Prunty, National Games Development Officer on 01 8363156.