June 16th, 2018

by Richard Bullick
Armagh stalwart Sharon Reel is determined to deliver a Father’s Day Ulster title triumph to thank her dad Owen for all he has done to make her ladies gaelic career so rewarding.
The popular former Armagh Ladies County Board Chairman had to miss the semi-final victory over Cavan due to being hospitalised but he hopes to be back among the fans for this Sunday’s showdown with Donegal in Enniskillen.

“I’d gone to Mass last Sunday morning and heard from someone my dad (Owen) had been taken into hospital.  The family had obviously been trying to shield me from it with us facing Cavan in the evening,” she explains.
“So I went in to see him before the game and all he wanted was for us to win so he could come and support us in the final.  Thankfully we were able to deliver, he got out on Thursday and, with the final being on Father’s Day, there’s even more motivation to get the job done next Sunday.
“Apart from encouraging me, my dad has done so much for ladies football for a quarter of a century, initially at club level and later during two terms as County Board Chairperson.  He has sponsored teams and still referees regularly.
“He thinks so much of all the girls, having been involved with our senior squad in various capacities through the years, but through refereeing he also knows so many club footballers and he’s always wanted the best for the sport.”
With her elder sister Sinead having followed in their father’s footsteps by taking on the time-consuming mantle of Armagh Ladies Chairperson, Sharon says an Orchard win would also be a fitting tribute to her efforts.
“I’ve seen the exceptional commitment my dad and Sinead have put in behind the scenes to ensure the team has the best possible chance of success so it would be great if we can win them some silverware as a thank-you.
“My dad is a passionate supporter of the team and Sinead was so happy for us when we beat Cavan.  We appreciate everything that they and others have been doing down through the years and any success Armagh has is shared among a real ladies football family as such.”
Some of the Armagh players like the Marley sisters and Lauren McConville have well-known footballing fathers who can often be found among the proud parents faithfully supporting the women in orange.
“We always get great support from family and friends but it was great to see and hear the extra crowd who turned out in Inniskeen and really got behind us.  I think those big games in 2014 at the Athletic Grounds and Clones showed how well we respond to an atmosphere and we’ll appreciate everyone who can make it to Brewster Park for the final.
“It has been several seasons since we’ve had much championship success but the excellent local coverage and improved promotion from our County Board means there’s far greater awareness of ladies football than there used to be,” enthuses Sharon.