Two victorious Offaly captains honoured at Croke Park
Two All-Ireland winning Offaly captains were among those who were honoured at Croke Park as the Ladies Gaelic Football Association celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first final last Sunday.
Doreen Daly (née Farrell), Offaly's victorious captain in 1979, and Tona McDonald, the winning skipper in 1981, were introduced to spectators during the half-time break of this year's Dublin v Kerry senior showpiece.
It was also a very special occasion for Offaly man Brendan Martin, after whom the All-Ireland senior trophy is named.
Offaly defeated Tipperary in the 1979 final (3-6 to 1-6) in a replay played at McCann Park, Portarlington, after the counties played out a draw in another Laois venue, The Heath. In 1981, Offaly overcame Cavan in the decider played at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe (final score: 1-11 to 4-0).
The first All-Ireland winning captain was Tipperary’s Kitty Ryan-Savage in 1974. The Premier County defeated Offaly in the first final, played in Durrow, Co. Laois.
The venues chosen for those finals is a reflection of how far the LGFA has come since its foundation, with last Sunday's TG4 sponsored finals at Croke Park attracting an attendance of 45,326. Down defeated Limerick in the junior final; Kildare held off a Clare rally in the intermediate decider; and Dublin overcame Kerry in the senior final, mainly thanks to an outstanding first-half display.
The players who have lifted the Brendan Martin Cup on more than one occasion are Dublin’s Sinéad Aherne (2017-2020 inclusive), Cork’s Juliet Murphy (2005-2007 inclusive), Cork’s Ciara O’Sullivan (2015 and 2016) and Meath’s Shauna Ennis (2021 and 2022). Prior to 2006, there had been a different winning captain in every year since 1974.
Cork and Kerry are joint top of the roll of honour with 11 senior titles each.
The full list of LGFA All-Ireland Senior Championship winning captains reads as follows:
Kitty Savage (née Ryan), Tipperary, 1974
Margaret Rossiter (née Carroll), Tipperary, 1975
Mary Geaney, Kerry, 1976
Bridget Smith (née Sheridan). Cavan, 1977
Liz Gibbons, Roscommon, 1978
Doreen Daly (née Farrell), Offaly, 1979
Josie Bourke (née Stapleton), Tipperary, 1980
Tona McDonald, Offaly, 1981
Marian Bowler (née Doherty), Kerry, 1982
Marina Barry-Walsh, Kerry, 1983
Bridget Leen, Kerry, 1984
Siobhan Twomey (née Leen), Kerry, 1985
Annette Flaherty (née Walsh), Kerry, 1986
Margaret Flaherty (née Golden), Kerry, 1987
Mary Lane (née Scanlon), Kerry, 1988
Kathleen Curran, Kerry, 1989
Del Whyte, Kerry, 1990
Maire Crotty-Wall, Waterford, 1991
Bernie Ryan-Duggan, Waterford, 1992
Eileen Dardis (née Lawlor), Kerry, 1993
Geraldine Long (née O’Ryan), Waterford, 1994
Noirin Walsh, Waterford, 1995
Maggie Kearns, Monaghan, 1996
Angela Larkin, Monaghan, 1997
Siobhan O’Ryan-Murphy, Waterford, 1998
Diane O’Hora, Mayo, 1999
Maria Staunton, Mayo, 2000
Angela Casey, Laois, 2001
Christina Heffernan, Mayo, 2002
Helena Lohan, Mayo, 2003
Annette Clarke, Galway, 2004
Juliet Murphy, Cork, 2005, 2006, 2007
Angela Walsh, Cork, 2008
Mary O’Connor, Cork, 2009
Denise Masterson, Dublin, 2010
Amy O’Shea, Cork, 2011
Rena Buckley, Cork, 2012
Ann Marie Walsh, Cork, 2013
Briege Corkery, Cork, 2014
Ciara O’Sullivan, Cork, 2015, 2016
Sinéad Aherne, Dublin, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Shauna Ennis, Meath, 2021, 2022
Carla Rowe, Dublin, 2023