1932 I presented myself as a student in Queens.
Several “old girls” were already there: - May
McCarroll, Una McClafferty, Grace McClafferty,
Frances McNabb and Eileen O’Kane, from the same
school, St Louis’ Convent, Kilkeel.
in 1932 was my classmate Madeline McKenna (who
eventually entered the convent).
all enthusiastic camogie players. In St Mary’s
Training College there were students from our
school who attended lectures regularly in Queens.
When the Irish University Camogie Club approached
the authorities in Queens with an invitation to
play in the University Camogie league, we were
delighted to include “St Mary’s” students to make
up the numbers for a team to partake in the University
match. The authorities in Queens valiantly furnished
us with a pitch on the Ravenhill Road Grounds.
Even though we were short in numbers, we had established
ourselves as the Queens University Camogie Club!
MacQuillan nee Laverty
Queens Camogie Club was formed
in the 1950's joining UCD, UCG and UCC in the famous
Ashbourne Cup Competition. Although QUB were more
participants than serious contenders for the cup,
this dedicated band of ladies set the foundation
stones for what is now one of the strongest camogie
colleges in Ireland.
By the 1970's Queens Camogie Club were beginning
to attract county players from all over the province
of Ulster. Among them were Margaret Moriaty (Armagh),
Mary Mc Coy (Down) and Anne Mc Allister (Antrim).
However, in spite of intensive training and sound
organisation that coveted prize of Ashbourne still
By the 1980's a new bunch of ladies had joined the
club. These included Teresa Allen (Down), Patricia
Mc Allister (Antrim), Yvonne Redmond (Dublin) and
their present coach Bernie Mc Nally (Armagh). With
these players Queen's success came in the form of
an historic defeat of UCG, which allowed Queens
into their first ever Ashbourne final in 1984. Although
on the losing side to UCD, Queens had now become
a force to be reckoned with. That Ashbourne defeat
however by UCD was to start a log and frustrating
trend of defeats in Ashbourne by the Dublin college.
Between 1984 and 1991, Queen's exit from Ashbourne
came at the hands of UCD.
Queens however continued to grow and develop and
a major breakthrough came in 1989 when Queens captures
their first ever national title, defeating Maynooth
College in the CCIA League Final. This victory was
only possible because of their magnificent win over
Ashbourne champions UCG in the semi final. At that
time players like Antrim's Siobhan Mc Erlain, Derry's
Catherine O'Neill and Down's Bronagh Mc Cann proved
that Ulster Colleges camogie was on the way up.
By 1991 Queens had gathered together one of the
strongest ever university teams storming through
a northern league campaign, which was to give then
the confidence to capture both the National League
and Ashbourne titles. An outstanding display of
skill and ground hurling helped them to see off
the challenge of UCC in the first round in Belfast.
Then came the bogie team UCD in the semi final.
A 12 point victory over their old rivals laid to
rest that particular ghost and out Queens into their
third Ashboure final. I spite of having home advantage,
Galway had no answer to the power Queens team and
at the final whistle Queens were 12 points clear
and Ashboure champions at last. Outstanding displays
by Joan Tobin (Tipperary), Bronagh Mc Cann and Monica
Mc Cartan (Down) and their Derry captain Deirdre
O Doherty will go dow in history as contributing
to Queens finest hour.
The 1991 Ashbourne and League team winners were:
Roisin O' Neill
Brid Mc Corry Deirdre
Monica Mc Cartan Brona
Mc Corry Joan
O Doherty (capt.)
Bronagh Mc Cann
1991 Ashbourne Cup & League Winners
of these honours, success in subsequent years
has eluded Queens. A new threat has emerged in
the form of Jordanstown, who defeated Queens in
the next two Ashbourne finals as well as ending
Queens dominance of the northern League.
Queens Camogie Team 1997-1998
Ashbourne Cup competition in 1998, Queen's reached
the semi-final stage in Waterford before losing
to eventual winners University College Cork. However,
the most controversial moment of that weekend
came when the Queens team realised that there
would be no alcohol served at the evening function,
a decision that had many a resulting consequence.
In the league in 1998 the only team to beat Queen's
was (of course) University of Ulster, Jordanstown.
In 1999, QUB were entered into the Ashbourne Shield
competition, an event that took place in Limerick.
Again Queens proceeded to the semi-final stage
but on this occasion were stopped in their tracks
by Galway Mayo Institute for Technology (GMIT).
The score line at the end showed a 4pt advantage
for GMIT but even this did not reflect the intensity
of the battle nor the closeness between the two
teams. Incidentally, Queen's player Mairead Dowds
was selected as goalkeeper for the Combined Purcell
Universities team, an achievement of which Queen's
Camogie Club remains very proud. In the league
competition in 1999, Queen's were successful in
every match except (of course) in the game against
UUJ - again!
Again in the February 2000, Queen's played in
the Ashbourne Shield competition, hosted that
year in NUI Galway. Somewhat like history repeating
itself Queens made it to the semis. This time
round their victor was Mary Immaculate College,
Limerick. This was a disappointing match from
Queens' point of view (well obviously since they
lost) but particularly because Mary I scored 3
goals inside the opening 5 minutes of the game.
There were still 9 points between the teams at
the interval but manager Paul Welsh devised 'a
cunning plan!' to outwit their Limerick opponents.
It must be pointed out that the Mary I manager
was the former Offaly and Limerick hurling manager
Eamonn Creagan but even he was at a loss on how
to cope with the Queens new attacking formation
which was basically: goalkeeper, 1 defender, 1
midfielder and 9 forwards. This revolutionary
tactic almost paid off as Queens reduced the gap
to 3points but unfortunately could not find that
longed for puck into the net.
Undeterred though, the disappointment didn't prevent
the yearly ritual of going out mad on the town
to ensure that the locals wouldn't forget the
girls in a hurry. Armagh star Áine Marsden, Diarmuid's
sister, lost the camera which she had so safely
stored…down her trousers and Brenda Gallagher
was duly escorted home…in a shopping trolley.
In the league that year…need I say more?!
February 2001 saw Queens into the Purcell Shield
Competition held that year in Limerick, where
they (of course!) reached the semis. This time
it was Maynooth to stick the nail in. The shenanigans
nevertheless continued. In 2002, QUB were successful
and unsuccessful all on the same day. Despite
beating Dublin City University in the first round
of the Purcell Cup at Queens by 2.10 to 0-2 (a
first championship win for the club since 1999
I might add), QUB were forced to leave the competition
due to unforeseen circumstances way beyond their
control! The win was not to be laughed at though
and in true QUB style the girls celebrated as
if the had won the Liam Mc McCarthy cup itself!!
Falling into the Father Maher Cup Competition
in 2003 QUB were out of the competition following
2 defeats to Trinity and Maynooth. In the final
match however QUB defeated the mighty UCD by 2.06
to 0.02. Again this provided the excuse to party
like they had been crowned champions!
2003 also saw QUB register their first league
point in 3 years following a draw with Marino
College Dublin. The score line ended 0.1 to 0.1!
Tyrone County star Sinead O Neill secured the
vital league point with a fine-pointed '45' in
the dying minutes.