All Ireland Seven-A-Sides
Tommie Donohue hailed the exploits of Parnells’ Ladies in the All Ireland Seven-A-Side competition as a “massive achievement” after the London intermediate champions came away from Dublin with the senior Shield.
Although an intermediate club, Parnells competed at senior level in the tournament and more than held their own, and but for an opening round group game defeat to Armagh senior champions ClannEireann would have made it to the senior cup semi-finals.
Despite that loss, Parnells went on to book their place in the Shield semi-finals with wins over West Clare Gaels (Clare), St Brigids (Laois) and Thomas Davis (Dublin).
In the last four they overcame Tipperary’s Cappawhite by 12-4 to 2-2, with Lisa Cafferky scoring 6-1.
The Shield final saw them up against Donaghmoyneof Monaghan, a club which has won five All Ireland Senior Club Championship, ten Ulster Club Championships and 15Monaghhan Senior Championships in a row between 2003 and 2017.
But they were no match for the London champions in the final, as Parnells ran out 3-7 to 1-3 winners, with Cafferky scoring 3-5.
“You’re talking about 12 vagabonds going over from another country and pitting themselves against these top players,” said Parnells manager Donohue.
“What people don’t realise is that those 12 players all paid for their own flights, as did all the coaches, and accommodation.
“Most travelled on the day of the tournament and were up at 4am to be at the airport for a 7am flight, and to win a final 13 hours later was a massive achievement.
“I cannot compliment them enough; it was phenomenal. It keeps Parnells Ladies, London Ladies and ladies football in Britain on the map, and shows that we can play over here.
“By the end we were almost untouchable, but losing that first game [vs ClannEireann] cost us a place in the cup semi-finals. Had we reached the senior final neither of those teams who reached that final would have stayed with us.”
The annual All Ireland 7- A-Side Ladies tournament sees 98 teams competing across senior, intermediate and junior levels.
Parnells fielded three home-grown players in Rebecca Mills, Hannah Noonan and Roisin Healy, as well as some emerging young talent in players like Noelle Cocoman, Caoimhe O’Grady and Laura Grills. Cafferky ended the tournament with an incredible 21-27 to her name.
Parnells had previously reached the final of the senior cup in 2014, where they lost out to Galway’s Kilkerrin- Clonberne, and beat Timahoe (Laois) in the senior cup final in 1995.
PARNELLS SQUAD: Niamh Murphy (Armagh), Helen Hughes (Monaghan), Rebecca Mills (London), Noelle Cocoman (Offaly), Hannah Noonan (London), Lisa Cafferky (Mayo), CatroinaMcGahan (Tyrone), Niamh O’Brien (Cork) Patricia ‘Polly’ Marmion (Louth) captain, Laura Grills (Louth), Roisin Healy (London).
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