What a year it’s been for the club! Arguably our most successful year with the ladies winning another trophy and the men’s team winning not only their first trophy but taking home three Yorkshire trophies!
The year started off like most people, in lockdown and not being able to meet up and train with one another. After coming off the back of a year with only playing two games for the men’s and none for ladies’ (due to the pandemic), the club members were keen to keep the fitness going, despite not being able to meet up. Throughout the first few months of the year, both teams kept each other going with virtual HIIT classes (cheers Deccy) and various running challenges such as: fastest 5km, biggest elevation gain and 100m sprints for 20 minutes. #VincentsGetFit. The ladies’ team also took part in a bunch of fitness challenges with the other ladies teams in the Yorkshire league. It was a tough few months for everyone but we all pulled together to keep each other going.
With the lockdown coming to an end at the end of March, the men’s first game back was only a couple of weeks away. All the fitness training during the winter definitely paid off as they beat Brothers Pearse 2-13 to 1-06 in the Senior League. Amazing to get that first game win after what felt like years of not playing. The ladies had their first Blitz competition the following week, where they teamed up with the York ladies again. A great display of football all day saw the girls come away with a win and a couple of narrow defeats. The rest of the Senior League for the men’s team consisted of three wins and two losses, meaning they finished 3rd, just missing out on making it to the final.
The next Blitz for the ladies was at the beginning of May, where they travelled up to a very wet and windy Newcastle. In tough conditions the girls did excellent and finished with a win and a loss. The final game against Newcastle was cancelled due to the bad weather.
After just a couple of weeks the ladies travelled to Huddersfield for the next Blitz tournament. Another fantastic display of football and hard fought performances saw the girls come away with a win and two losses, with a very narrow defeat to Newcastle.
The next round of Blitz football for the ladies was held up at York, a home Blitz for some of the girls as Sheffield GAA and York GAA combined for the season. With quite possibly their strongest performances to date, the girls came away with two wins and one loss. An excellent day of football shown by the girls.
The next lot of games for the men’s team started again towards the end of June, where they played Hugh O’Neills in the Junior Championship. After a great display of football by both sides, the lads had the better fitness and kept it going in the last 15 minutes and took the win, progressing them to the semi-finals. Cú Chulainn’s of Newcastle had to concede meaning the men’s team were in the final against York GAA, who they were yet to win a game against. In what could be the game of the season so far (and the tightest), the men’s team just managed to hold onto the lead, beating York 1-12 to 1-11 and winning their first ever trophy! Another history-making moment for the club and one that won’t be forgotten.
The final Blitz tournament for the ladies was supposed to coincide with our Family Fun Day but sadly the fun day aspect had to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions. But we were still able to host our own home Blitz. The girls put in another great round of performances, coming away with a win and two losses. This put them into the semi-finals against Hugh O’Neills. Unfortunately it wasn’t the girls day as they lost out to a strong Hugh O’Neills side.
The last competitive game of football for the ladies would see them in a match against Brothers Pearse for the Yorkshire Shield. After a very strong performance, the ladies came away with a win and a second piece of silverware for the girls. A cracking display of football all season and great determination to come back after all the lockdowns to win another trophy.
Next up for the men’s team was the Junior League. After four strong performances and two conceded games, the lads finished top of the league table. This put them into the league final against Hugh O’Neills, due to be played four weeks later. The lads played some great football and took the win 5-16 to 3-09, adding a second trophy for the men’s team!
The lads would start the Senior Championship on an eleven game winning streak. JFK conceded the quarter-final match, meaning the men’s team go straight into the semi-finals against St Benedict’s. A hard fought match against a tough Benedict’s side but the lads dug deep and finished strong and won 3-11 to 2-07. A great opportunity for the men’s team to win Sheffield’s first ever Senior Championship title called for the game to be live streamed! Big thanks to Open House Pictures. The lads took an early lead against a strong Brothers Pearse side and at half time the score was 0-08 to 0-04 to the Vinnies. The lads came out the firing blocks at half time and scored an early goal in the second half and managed to hold onto the lead beating Brothers Pearse 1-10 to 1-07. Another historic moment for the club as the men’s team are crowned Yorkshire Senior Champions!
The All-Britain Club Championship! New territory for the club. The men’s team travelled to Manchester to play a strong Birmingham side Sean McDermott’s. Unfortunately the Yorkshire dream stopped there and it wasn’t the lads’ day, but it felt amazing to represent Sheffield and Yorkshire in the All-Britain. It was a tough loss to take but great experience for the men’s team who now know what is needed to compete at the top level.
The year finished with a cracking celebration at our Dinner Dance. We had some fantastic entertainment from Irish musician Damian Farrell and some Irish dancing by Scoil Rince Nua. Although the sooner we can forget about the captains having a go the better 😉
We’ve had some incredible support this year which we’ve seen grow even bigger since 2020. Not only have been people been supporting on social media but we’ve seen lots of people coming to games and cheering us on, money being donated to help keep us going, rounds of drinks being bought for the players to help celebrate the wins and even a pair of Gaelic football gloves for every player (massive thanks to Dermott and Della), incredible gesture.
Off the back of a year where hardly any football was played or any fundraising was had, it’s been a struggle trying to secure new sponsors. Thankfully, long term sponsors The Grapes (thanks Ann) sponsored us again providing crucial financial support to help keep us going. We were also lucky enough to secure a new sponsor in Allied, who also donated some much needed funds to the club.
In what has been a tough couple of years for everyone, we pulled together and kept each other going, whether that be through virtual fitness classes, giving encouragement during training sessions or even just being there for one another. We’re proud of the community we’ve built here in Sheffield and we look forward to many more years ahead.
This year has definitely been the club’s most successful with four pieces of silverware! It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of friends and family, our sponsors, the hard work that all the players put in and, of course, the committee members. It’s been a cracking year but now we move forward and aim for an even better one. Bring on 2022!