Historic Wicklow Double Header A Huge Step Forward For The Garden County And A Possible Historic First For The Haydens
Widespread joy and good wishes greeted the recent announcement that the newly promoted Wicklow Ladies Senior Football Team will take on the ladies of Down in Aughrim in the Lidl Ladies National Football League as part of a historic double header that sees the Wicklow Men’s Senior Football Team take on Limerick in Division 4 of the Allianz National Football League with both games taking place in Aughrim on Sunday the 10th of February.
After many years campaigning by a host of people, the fruits of that labour will come into fruition as the people of Wicklow will finally be afforded the opportunity to see our Ladies and Mens teams compete on the same stage in what promises to be a splendid occasion for all involved and the county as a whole. The list of people who brought this all about is vast and we would easily miss out on someone in an attempt to mention them all so we have opted to get the words of few people within the inner circles of this long awaited occasion. To all who were involved, may we just say our huge thanks and how fantastic it is is to see this happen and see Wicklow gaining National attention for all the right reasons and huge credit must go to Chairperson Jean Allen and all in the Wicklow LGFA County Board and also to Martin Fitzgerald all in the Wicklow GAA County Board as well as Down LGFA for agreeing to it and to a long serving stalwart of Wicklow LGFA, Dominic Leech who has worked tirelessly to achieve this occasion.
This news though perhaps is most appreciated by two of Wicklow’s finest ever footballers, Lorna Fusciardi and Darren Hayden who recently tied the knot to become Wicklow’s Ultimate GAA Power Couple and both of whom will be lining out for their respective Wicklow sides on the 10th of February. The Hayden & Fusciardi families will have one major headache resolved as they can now support their loved ones in Aughrim without worrying about a mad dash to another Wicklow venue to support their family members. Hopefully these two lovely photos of Lorna and Darren with their beautiful daughter Harlie can be retaken on the 10th of February but this time with Daddy in the photo messing up the cuteness factor! (Maybe the GAA historians amongst us can clarify but this could be the first time that a husband and wife represent their county at senior intercounty level in the same pitch in competitive action)
For Lorna who has been a great servant to her county, the news that the Double Header is now a reality couldn’t have been more well received:
I’ve represented Wicklow Senior Ladies for the past 13 years or so. In that time, we’ve never held a double header with the Senior Men’s team in Aughrim. Despite opportunities where both teams have played at home on the same day, our families and friends have never had the chance to support both of us as matches have been scheduled for similar times in different venues. I think it’s a massive step in the right direction for Wicklow GAA and hopefully people can get out to show both teams the support they deserve. I know the girls will look forward to staying on after our game and supporting the lads.
Lorna was quick to point out that there is also loves young dream following swiftly in her and Darrens footsteps as midfield maestro Niamh McGettigan and the dashing defender Ross O Brien have been the Romeo & Juliet story of the Wicklow Town/Rathnew area for quite a few years and both will also be in action for the Wicklow Ladies & Mens teams on the 10th.
We spoke to a few of the other parties involved in making this double header a reality and first port of call was with County Wicklow man and Leinster LGFA President Mr Dominic Leech who had this to say:
It is indeed such a fantastic positive development within the county and shows Wicklow sport in such a positive light. I am hugely proud as Leinster LGFA President and as a member of the National Management of LGFA that Wicklow have been to the fore in agreeing this double bill. Both provincial and national organisations (GAA and LGFA) have been actively encouraging such initiatives over the past few seasons. The Wicklow ladies squad are naturally looking forward to this historic occasion. It has to be acknowledged that this development could not have taken place without the cooperation of the Wicklow GAA under their chairperson Martin Fitzgerald, Wicklow LGFA under chairperson Jean Allen and the Down LGFA. However I would raise one word of caution – we are dependent on the Irish weather and if the weather turns foul then obviously it is fully understood by both organisations that it may not be possible to stage both games in Aughrim. However for the moment the most important thing is that both organisations have agreed on the fact that the two matches may be played together. This had been mooted over the last number of years but for a variety of reasons had not been possible. Now it is a reality and we hope to see large support travel to both games but particularly from our point of view to the ladies game. All we now need is the sun to continue smiling over the Garden County.
Wicklow LGFA County Chairperson Jean Allen was also very complimentary of her counterparts in Wicklow GAA:
Wicklow LGFA are delighted with the announcement of the double bill in Aughrim on the 10th February. It is a great reflection of the relationship that has been built between Wicklow LGFA and GAA. I would like to thank Chairman Martin Fitzgerald and his County Delegates for working so closely on this with us and for all their continued support. Weather permitting it promises to be a great sporting day for all Wicklow Supporters. We look forward to seeing you all there.
New Wicklow Ladies Football Manager James Kelly is looking forward to the occasion but is not losing sight of his sides league opener with Roscommon:
It’s great to see both the Wicklow LGFA and the Wicklow GAA working in tandem to create a great opportunity for the ladies to showcase their talents. We as a group are looking forward to the opportunity to play in Aughrim but firstly we focus on Roscommon and the challenges that game brings.
Wicklows Number 1 Kim Connors was also a key figure, if not the most important figure in making this double header a reality as way back on the 27th of November 2018, she flagged up the possibility of the games being fixed together and her action is a great example to all of us to pursue a goal and not to sit and wait and expect things to happen:
When we spoke to Kim she hits the nail on the head in terms of the essence of why this is so important not only for the players and those involved in making it happen but it sets a great example to other counties and puts Wicklow in the headlines for all the right reasons:
It’s unbelievable to think that our county is setting the trend when it comes to double headers. Wicklow have gotten a lot of grief over the years for one reason or another but to be ahead of the curve is something worth shouting about. Credit must be given to both county boards, these things don’t just happen overnight and it is something that all of us as players would love to tick off the bucket list. We would love to see a big crowd in Aughrim on the 10th, it might even help our case for another opportunity like this further down the line.
ALL OF THIS STILL REQUIRES ONE MAJOR INGREDIENT TO REALLY MAKE THIS A MEMORABLE OCCASION AND THAT INGREDIENT IS A MASSIVE HOME SUPPORT! GET TO AUGHRIM ON THE 10TH OF FEBRUARY IN YOUR BLUE & GOLD AND ROAR ON OUR TEAMS IN HUGE NUMBERS AND HOPEFULLY WE CAN COME AWAY WITH TWO BIG WINS.