Captain and goalkeeper Blathnaid McDonagh raises the cup with her delighted team mates following Mercy Secondary Ballymahon's great win in the Lidl PPS Leinster Senior 'B' Final Picture: Syl Healy
The members of the Mercy Ballymahon senior ladies football team have set up an online petition in an effort to encourage the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) to complete the Lidl Ladies All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior ‘B’ championship.
Mercy Ballymahon claimed the Leinster title with a comprehensive twelve points, 6-13 to 3-10, victory over St Leo’s, Carlow in Bord na Móna O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Friday, January 31 and they were scheduled to play Coláiste Oiriall from Monaghan in the All-Ireland semi-final.
That was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown which led to school closures and wiped out sporting activity.
The LGFA opted to discontinue the Lidl Ladies All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior ‘B’ championship and the Mercy Ballymahon girls believe that in accordance with the LGFA’s return to play roadmap and protocols, it would be possible for the LGFA to complete the semi-finals and final.
On their petition they explain: “The senior team of Mercy Secondary School Ballymahon had an All-Ireland in sight and they are refusing to give up until this game (All-Ireland semi-final) is played in the safest way possible.
“Please sign this petition to encourage the LGFA to play out the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior ‘B’ championship and provide hope to the many young women who are filled with disappointment at their dream of a potential All-Ireland football title being taken from them.”
This is the last opportunity for four of the Ballymahon side, team captain Bláthnaid McDonagh, along with Clodagh Dillon, Ciara Mulligan and Zoe Guinane, to represent their school in ladies football competition.
Coached by Mr Colin Seery, Ms Martha O’Reilly and Mr Sean Bohan, Mercy Ballymahon were crowned All-Ireland ‘C’ champions last year and for 2020, they set their sights on securing All-Ireland ‘B’ honours.
Prior to lockdown, “we put in a massive effort,” explained captain Bláthnaid McDonagh. “We’d love to have the opportunity to try to win another All-Ireland. The team's dedication has been phenomenal, training over Christmas and mid terms, in anticipation of this All-Ireland semi-final.”
Bláthnaid added, “I believe our championship should be completed because there are only two games left to be played. Our semi-final and the All-Ireland final. The other semi-final was already played the week before we went into lockdown.”