25 May 2022

Arranmore grant the late Conal Kavanagh his wish with ladies GAA team about to take to the field

Before his passing in 2020, Conal Kavanagh told Arranmore to set up a ladies GAA team and later this month a men's and ladies team representing the Inter Islands Football tournament in Cork

Arranmore grant the late Conal Kavanagh his wish with ladies GAA team about to take to the field

The Arranmore ladies GAA panel and, inset, the late Conal Kavanagh

The late Conal Kavanagh was the man behind Arranmore GAA. He managed the team, raised funds and organised the weekends away and without him there would be no Arranmore GAA. 

Conal unfortunately passed away in March 2020. However, he left instructions for a ladies team to be set up. Arranmore have always entered a men's team in the Inter Islands Football tournament - however, this year they are entering a ladies team for the very first time.

In Conal’s honour, in January 2021, the first ever Arranmore ladies GAA team was formed. Covid saw the cancellation of the tournament in 2020 and again in 2021, however, this year all roads lead to Bere Island, Co Cork. 

Arranmore Island is more associated with football than GAA. Their football team, Arranmore United, has been a member of the Donegal Junior League since 1987. 

However, once a year, the island takes part in the Inter Islands GAA tournament, a tournament which invites islands from all over Ireland to take part in a one day tournament. The prize at stake: All Ireland Island champions. 

Islands off the coast of Mayo, Galway and Cork take part as well as Arranmore. Arranmore have been taking part in the tournament since 2005 and won the tournament on home soil in 2014. Most recently, the islanders travelled to Inis Mór, one of the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway, in 2019. This year the tournament is being held on Bere island off the south coast of Cork. 

There is added excitement this time around as the ladies team have been training hard and have shown terrific commitment and dedication since January last year. Team captain Kayla Early, who lives on Arranmore, has shown great leadership and has been busy getting the team ready. There is real optimism in the Arranmore ladies camp. 

Preparations are almost complete as the Islanders get ready to make the long trip south. Those travelling from the Island will get the first ferry at 7.45am and hope to arrive in Castletownbere for the 6.30pm ferry to Bere Island. There are various pick up stops planned on route as Islanders travelling from Galway are getting picked up in Gort, Islanders travelling from Dublin are getting picked up in Limerick and Islanders travelling from London are getting picked up at Kerry airport. 

On Saturday May 21, the various Island GAA teams will take to the field and battle it out for the coveted title. The ladies tournament will take place early Saturday morning and the men's tournament in the afternoon and by 6pm that evening there will be two teams heading off into the village on Bere island with the Inter-Islands trophies.

Ladies squad: Kayla Early, Shannon Brady, Rose Boyle, Katie Mulvey, Tara Gaughran, Orlaith Gaughran, Aoife Gallagher, Niamh Proctor, Leanne Gallagher, Niamh Gallagher, Aine McCafferty, Leah Rodgers, Sophie Boyle, Aine Boyle.

Men's squad: Ben Boyle, Brian Proctor, Frankie Rua Early, Michael McHugh, Conor Proctor, Gavin McGlanaghey, Sean McCauley, Gary McGhee, Brendan Greene, Aaron O’Byrne, Ben Carr, Liam Gaughran, Neil Gallagher, Dara Flanagan, Martin Proctor.

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