By Niall Gartland
DOWN the years Lavey has been famed for many things, including the success of their camogie team with six senior championship titles to their name.
And that tradition of camogie explains why there was a little bit of apprehension in some quarters when they introduced ladies football to the club a mere seven years ago. They’re only in the second year of fielding at adult level but they’re one step away from winning the Ulster Junior Championship title as they gear up for this weekend’s showdown with Donegal side Dungloe.
Managing the ladies team is Brian Scullion, who won an All-Ireland medal with Lavey in 1991. It’s been a labour of love for him and others at the coalface, but their hard work is now paying off and then some.
“We started the ladies up seven years ago, it was at u-12 level initially and it’s carried through to minor level. We then decided to put in a senior team as the few of the minor girls are now overage and had nowhere to go.
“It was difficult enough getting the thing going initially because of the tradition of camogie in the club.
“Mary Jo Boyle was the driving force behind starting up the ladies, she played ladies for Glen and Derry, and alongside with a few others, she’s been instrumental in the whole thing.
“The support in terms of girls wanting to play ladies was massive straight away. There’s a lot of crossover between the ladies and camogie but it’s going very well.”
Lavey ladies won the Derry Junior title last year (their first year of fielding at senior level) and stepped up to the Intermediate ranks this season to clinch back-to-back county titles. This is their first time sampling the delights of provincial football and they’ve taken to it like a duck to water with victories over Clonmore and Carryduff en route to the decider. They’ll take on Dungloe in the final, who are managed by Donegal legend Tony Boyle.
Scullion commented: “With Tony looking after them, they’ll be very well prepared, he has a few daughters on the team as well.
“The teams we’ve played so far have been very young teams with two or three older players. From what I hear Dungloe are very similar and most of them played in the Donegal final last weekend.
“Youth in ladies football seems to be a big thing, if you’re young you can run forever so we’ll have that to watch out for. We’re all very excited about it and the club is rowing in behind us. It’s great to have any success in Ulster in any code.
“It’s keeping the thing going late into the season, there’s late evenings and the weather has taken a turn, and a wee run out on a Saturday or Sunday is nice no matter the time of year.”