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GAA Football

Historic night for Laochra Loch Lao after first game in Antrim league

Laochra Loch Lao captain Sean McCurry (right) and St Malachy’s captain Anthony Dobbin with referee Eamon Hamill before Wednesday night's match
Neil Loughran

THEY may have lost on the night but, for Laochra Loch Lao, the winning was simply being there at all as the Irish language club dipped its toes into Antrim league action for the first time.

The club was only formed at the tail end of last year and, having convinced the county board that they merited entry to the Antrim league, the senior male footballers played their first Division Three game on Wednesday night.

It ended in a five point defeat to St Malachy’s at Colaiste Feirste, 3-10 to 1-11, but is only the first step on what everybody associated with the club believes will be a long and fruitful journey.

Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh is secretary of Laochra Loch Lao, but also lined out at corner-forward against St Malachy’s. And he is happy that they have proved themselves competitive from the off.

“I’m a bit sore this morning, it was a bit of a physical war up there,” said Mac Ionnrachtaigh.

“It was the ultimate game of two halves – we had the wind in the first half, we went in 1-9 to 1-2 up at half-time, but the second half was a complete turnaround. We got pegged back and we couldn’t get the ball out. Maybe that wee bit of experience they have shone through.

“We are a new outfit, a lot of the lads maybe hadn’t played in years, but it’s going well. Some people might have assumed it was a bit of a mess about and that we’d be an easy scalp, but our objective is to be as competitive as possible and develop as surely as we can.”

Former Kerry star Dara O Cinneide was among those to send well wishes, and the objective now is to build on the solid foundations laid at all levels through the club – from underage right the way up.

“For us the first game was a hugely historic occasion because we had established Laochra as an amalgamated team back in 2006/7 to take part in the national Gaeltacht competition, but the step of starting a new club is a big deal,” continued Mac Ionnrachtaigh.

“We have U6, U8 and nursery programme, which is thriving, and we have a ladies team who have entered in Division Three and are top of the league after winning their first two games, which is fantastic.

“The key for us is participation, that’s the main thing – we’re a GAA club, but also a language project.”

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