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Remembering the great Heath ladies football team that won two All Ireland club titles in the 1980s

The Heath ladies team that won the All Ireland club title in 1986. Though not in this photo, Sue was part of that team as a 12-year-old

It’s among one of the fine Laois sporting achievements of all time – The Heath’s success in winning back-to-back All Ireland club titles in the 1980s.

Though the club lapsed for many years afterwards, The Heath were the first power of the ladies football game in Laois.

They won the first Laois ladies title in 1976 and have 11 in all, just one behind Timahoe on the roll of honour. And they share the record Sarsfields of having won seven titles in a row from 1980 to 1986. Only Crettyard’s success in 1987 prevented The Heath winning every single Laois final in the 1980s.

They also won four Leinster titles during that era – a four-in-a-row from 1983 to 1986, with their All Ireland titles achieved in 1985 and 1986.

That team is remembered fondly in a LaoisToday interview Laois ladies football great Sue Ramsbottom, which will be published in full on Sunday.

With no ladies club in Timahoe at the time, Sue’s first involvement in the ladies game was with The Heath – and she won an All Ireland senior title with them when she was just 12 and still in primary school.

“My first club was The Heath as there was no club in Timahoe,” she explains in a wide-ranging interview.

“I remember putting on the Heath jersey and it was way too big for me.

“I was still only in primary school about 12 years of age at the time when I won my first and only club All-Ireland.

“They were a great club who were well set up and managed by Mr Paddy Conroy who had three daughters Breda, Catherine and Sile on the team.

“Ann Cushen, Helen Kelly, the Downey and Conroy sisters along with numerous others all ensured I was well looked after and I felt very much part of the team.

“That group of girls were fantastic footballers but they were certainly much more than that as they were a great example in every way to a young girl setting out in life.

“I was so lucky to be part of the team that went on to win an All Ireland club final against Castleisland (Kerry).”

In an indepth piece, to published in full this Sunday, May 17, Sue looks back on her amazing sporting career, one that saw her win numerous medals with club and county, seven All Star awards and three caps for the Ireland rugby team.

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