THE Mayo Women's Football League celebrated another successful domestic season at its annual awards presentation event, held in the Park Hotel, Kiltimagh, on Friday night.
Recognising the women's and Under 19 teams of the year, as well as player of the month and golden boot winners, the night is also an occasion to celebrate people dedicated to football off the pitch with the Michael Jennings Service to Football Award 2023 - Michael epitomised dedication to the women's game in Mayo.
Myra Deacy, secretary of Straide & Foxford, was announced as award winner by league secretary Joe King at the ceremony. Michael Jennings' daughter Siobhan was on hand to make the presentation.
Myra has worked tirelessly to promote football within her club and the league over a number of years. She previously also filled the role of secretary of the women's league.
Joe King commented on how S&F had an excellent women's team back in the Noughties, but then came an absence. Myra always wanted to see the club returning to the women's league and was a driving force in making that return in 2022.
Award winners on the night included the Women’s Team of the Year: Emma Munnelly, Killala, Stacey Freyne, Manulla, Amy Dowling, Castlebar Town, Michelle Ruane, Straide & Foxford United, Melissa Devaney, Swinford, Aoife Freyne, Manulla, Tracey Hall, Manulla, Stephanie Loughney, Straide & Foxford, Jess Nolan, Manulla, Leah McHugh, Conn Rangers, Belinda Patterson, Castlebar Town.
Under 19 Girls Team of the Year: Lisa Nally, Manulla, Emily Rowley, Swinford, Eve Maloney, Swinford, Amy Dunleavy, Swinford, Sarah Costello, Killala, Anna Mae Clarke, Manulla, Bria McLoughlin, Swinford, Niamh Ryan, Manulla, Mary Ann Ward, Claremorris, Emily Jennings, Ballinrobe Town, Beth Roache, Swinford.
Also presented were the Player of the Month awards sponsored by Tom McHale of McHale Agri, Forest & Garden. Recipients in the women’s league were: Ava Keane, Castlebar Town (April), Catriona Barrett, Kilmore (May), Orla McHale, Straide & Foxford (June), Aoife Freyne, Manulla (July), Niamh Flannery, Manulla (August), and Tracey Hall, Manulla (September). Under 19 Player of the Month awards: Hazel Harrington, Swinford (July), Amy Dunleavy, Swinford (August).
Leah McHugh from Conn Rangers won the Golden Boot in the women's league, with Mary Ann Ward from Claremorris taking the award at Under 19 level.
With the domestic season now over, attention across the three grades now turns to Connacht Cup, with first round games now completed.
In his address, Joe King reflected on a busy year, with the Under 17s league coming under their remit, featuring 14 teams, and continued growth in the senior league with two additional clubs taking part. And there are strong indications that another club or possibly two will field women's teams in the 2024 season.
Also, with women's leagues now in all four western leagues - Mayo, Galway, Roscommon and Sligo/Leitrim, Connacht inter-league competitions at all three grades will most likely become a reality in the future.
As growth in the female game continues in Mayo new recruits are a must for the league committee itself. New people bring new ideas, which are important to continue the positive development of the game in the county, he said. Anyone who has an interest in getting involved, talk to Joe or get in touch through the league's social media channels.
He expressed thanks to everyone who has worked with teams and clubs over the past season, to sponsor Tom McHale of McHale Agri, Forest & Garden and the Park Hotel for hosting the event.