ULSTER'S FINEST: The Irish News Ulster All-Stars Ladies' Football Team of the Year

Donegal's Geraldine McLaughlin has once again been one of the most prolific forwards in Ireland in 2021
Donegal's Geraldine McLaughlin has once again been one of the most prolific forwards in Ireland in 2021



It’s not an easy position to play, it can be a lonely place but Anna Carr has established herself as a great goalkeeper over the last few years and for Armagh her experience and her bravery has been crucial in helping get her side over the line in games and to a second Ulster senior title this year.



Byrne stood firm at the heart of the Down defence as her county won the Ulster Intermediate Championship title back in the summer and reached the last eight of the All-Ireland intermediate series. The Saval club player produced strong displays as Down continued their good progress and now look forward to senior football next season.


McCambridge was unlucky to not be named in this team last year as she was one of the best defenders on show but she doesn’t miss out this time and takes the number three jersey. She has become a rock in the heart of the Armagh defence, her reading of the game, her timely interceptions and her shackling of some of the best forwards in the game sees her rated as one of the best current full-backs.


A superb defender who came up against some of the top forwards in the country this year and was not daunted by it, answering all the questions asked of her as she played a key part in the Donegal rearguard. She has really come into her own over the last season or two and will be a key player for the future.



Doherty is a vital cog in the heart of the Down defence and she excelled yet again in the county jersey. She covers every blade of grass on the pitch, getting up and down to support her team-mates as well as adding the odd score.


McLaughlin has moulded herself into one of Donegal’s top defenders and takes the number six jersey. She doesn’t give opposition forwards an inch, is not afraid to put her body on the line, is comfortable on the ball and helping her side launch counter-attacks from the heart of defence.


McConville returned to the Armagh colours in 2021 after a two year absence where she has established herself as a tenacious defender for the Orchard county despite many being more familiar with her role in the forward line. She’s a fiercely competitive players, always working hard when not in possession, forcing turnovers, being that link from defence to attack and capable of scoring as well.

Gráinne McLaughlin's scoring form helped steer Antrim to an All-Ireland Junior Championship meeting with Wicklow
Gráinne McLaughlin's scoring form helped steer Antrim to an All-Ireland Junior Championship meeting with Wicklow



Saffron midfielder Brown really came into her own in 2021 as Antrim took Ulster junior honours and reached the All-Ireland junior final. She towered above oppositions winning vital possessions and turning those into attacks while she also popped up on the end of a few fine scores including a crucial goal against Carlow in the semi-final.


O’Hanlon makes Armagh tick and yet again had another excellent year in the Orchard jersey. The Carrickcruppen star digs deep and when you need that person to stand up when most needed there really is nobody better to do just that. Will get back to revert danger at one end and at the other will almost certain get on the scoresheet in every game.



Foy is one of Down’s prolific scorers and a thorn in every team’s defence with each struggling to curtail the Carryduff player. When opportunities arose she put them away with her direct running and finishing prowess and her scoring powers were vital to Down this year.


Carey has been a faithful servant of Antrim football for almost two decades and that experience was crucial in helping the Saffrons to the All-Ireland junior final this year. She rolled back the years in 2021 torturing opposition defences and as well as getting the scores she was one of the main targets up front, pulling strings and controlling games.


McLaughlin was one of Antrim’s best players, if not the best, in 2021. She was crucial to Antrim reaching the All-Ireland Junior final and on a day when things did not go to plan against Wicklow in that decider she was their standout player and did her very best to try and keep them in the game, grabbing 1-5. She finished as Antrim’s top scorer and seventh in the top scorers of the championship with 3-23.



Mackin had yet another outstanding year in the Armagh jersey and she provided online audiences and spectators with some memorable moments of outstanding scoring. She finished runner-up with 4-28 in the All-Ireland championship gold boot competition and that despite her county exiting at the quarter-final stage. She also hit 2-4 in the Ulster final as Armagh retained their title.


There is not much that needs said about one of the best forwards the country, and at last she was recognised with the LGFA All-Star she long deserved. She has been consistently outstanding for the past number of years. She is a real thorn in every team’s defence no matter how well marshalled. She finished with 2-22 in the All-Ireland series, which doesn’t include her 1-10 in the Ulster final defeat to Armagh, which saw her pick up the Player of the Match award.


The Orchard captain led her county to a second successive Ulster title, her accuracy in front of the posts from play and placed balls once again playing a crucial role in that achievement. She missed the first part of the season through injury, but came on as a sub in the Ulster semi-final against Tyrone scoring a goal, and from thereon she was in superb form as Armagh reached the last eight of the All-Ireland series.