1981 Offaly All-Ireland winning captain Tona McDonald at Croke Park last Sunday. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

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.

1979 Offaly All-Ireland winning captain Doreen Daly at Croke Park last Sunday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile Photo by Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

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