LADIES GAA | Crowne Plaza to host 2018 LGFA Congress

Woods: Decision is ‘testament to the standing of Louth Ladies GAA’

Louth Ladies are to host next year’s annual Congress of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.

Ladies GAA delegates from the 32 counties and from units in England, Scotland, Australia and New York will descend on the county on the first Friday evening of March 2018.

The Congress, which runs for three days, will take place in the Crowne Plaza, Hotel, Dundalk. It will get underway at 8pm on the Friday evening and will run all day Saturday with business finishing on Sunday morning.

It is a fitting tribute to Louth Ladies football, 25 years on from the founding of the game in the county.

It is the first time the Congress is being staged in the county and is a tribute to the standing of Louth Ladies football at national level that it fought off stiff opposition from four other Leinster counties, Dublin Meath and Kildare to host the Congress.

This was down, in many ways, to the persuasive powers of three men who are widely respected in the association the length and breadth of the country, Central Council delegate Pat Carr, Louth Ladies secretary Liam O’Neill and current Louth Ladies chairman Dermot Woods.

“I spoke on the discussion about the hosting of the Congress at this year’s Congress in Donegal,” explained Woods.
“It was Leinster’s turn and we felt that it was appropriate that we got to host it on our 25th anniversary.
“It is testament to the standing of Louth Ladies GAA at national level that Congress backed our call.
“We are really looking forward to hosting what is a big event. When you take in all the delegates from all the counties and abroad and the executive there will be in the region of 170 delegates attending the Congress.
“We will be setting up a special committee to organise the event, now that it has been awarded to us and I am confident that they will have everything in place for the successful running of Congress.”

Dermot first became active with Louth Ladies GAA back in 1994, becoming chairman of the County Board for the first time three years later.

“The first Louth board was formed in early 1992, which is 25 years ago this year, and I got involved two years later,” he continued.
“My club Naomh Malachi set up a team in 1993 and that got me involved. After a while I started going to county board meetings and from that I got cajoled into taking on jobs.
“Twenty-three years later I’m serving my third term as county chairman and I have held many other positions down the years.”

Twenty five years on from Micheal Heaney and Peter Mulligan first setting the wheels in motion, Louth ladies football is in a good place.

“The adult team have had a promising league campaign and are very much looking forward to start of the Leinster Championship in late May,” said Woods.
“We have a very young team that will get better with time and will benefit from a strong management team led by ex-Dublin hero John O’Leary,” said the Malachi’s clubman.
“The game took off here from the word go with huge crowds attending our county finals. Louth winning an All-Ireland title in 1998 at Croke Park, under the guidance of Tony Melia, Dermot Agnew and Joey Kirk was a big help,” he added.

With Alo McGrath in charge, Louth reached the Intermediate Championship final 12 months later, beating Cork and Kerry on the way to beating Wexford in the final.

The Wee County ladies lost Junior All-Ireland finals in 2010 — where they were beaten by Limerick — and again in 2012 to Antrim — before they finally claimed a third All-Ireland, the Junior final of 2015.

Under the guidance of Meath native Martin Connolly, they finally climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand for the second time after overcoming Scotland in the final.

An All-Ireland minor title in 2011 and a number of under age provincial titles have been added to the trophy cabinet in the intervening years.

“We’ve had great players and some very good people working with teams down the years and it took a lot of hard work and commitment from a lot of people to take us where we are today,” concluded the Louth chairman.
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