Clann Eireann's Dearbhla Coleman dedicates Ulster final win to late Marie Hoye

Clann Eireann players celebrate after their win over Bredagh in the Ulster Senior Ladies' Football final at Healy Park, Omagh on Sunday
Clann Eireann players celebrate after their win over Bredagh in the Ulster Senior Ladies' Football final at Healy Park, Omagh on Sunday

DEARBHLA Coleman dedicated Clann Eireann’s inaugural Ulster Senior Club championship title to the late Marie Hoye who founded ladies football in the Lurgan club many years ago. 

Hoye was also one of the first players to wear the Clann Eireann club shirt and despite sadly passing away in June 2006, she continues to be at the heart of everything ladies football in the club. 

“I can’t even imagine what she would be thinking right now. Everyone in our team is related to Marie in some way, shape or form. It just means so much,” said Coleman in the aftermath of their win as they became the first team from Armagh to win the Ulster senior club title. 

“This is the first we have been in this situation and it was just so good to do it. We weren’t doing it just for ourselves but all those past players who didn’t get a chance to play in this and have put everything into Clann Eireann.” 

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The Armagh senior county trophy is named the Marie Hoye Cup so when it comes back home to Clann Eireann it’s always a special occasion.

With numerous county titles they are one of the most dominant on the Armagh club scene but when it has come to competing for provincial honours, they have struggled.

Their best run in Ulster came in 2017 when they reached the semi-finals but this year new manager Gregory McGonigle laid down the gauntlet and told the players when he first met up with them back in February that the Ulster title was the aim. 

“Words can’t really describe how we are feeling. We have just worked really hard from the start of the season and this was our goal. This was game six of six for us. This was the aim and we knew we could do it if we just went all in and put the hard work in,” said Coleman.  

The centre half forward collected the Player of the Final award and it was her mis-hit kick that found its way to her sister Niamh who scored the game’s only but ultimately crucial goal in the 54th minute that put Clann Eireann on their to a 1-10 to 0-8 victory.  

“We were practicing that this morning, so it was all intentional,” laughed Coleman.

“No, these things happen and you need a bit of luck on your side and I was lucky enough to kick it and she was there for it.” 

Clann Eireann manager Gregory McGonigle
Clann Eireann manager Gregory McGonigle

Clann Eireann manager Greogry McGonigle made no bones about it when he said he told this group of players they should be challenging for Ulster honours and going out to leave a legacy that Marie Hoye would be proud of. 

“The big thing, we spoke about it at the start of the year, and we referenced it during the week is that the club is massively built on the back of Marie Hoye and my argument at the start of the year was would Marie Hoye be happy with just winning 11 county titles? Then it’s how you create a legacy and that’s what we went after,” said McGonigle.