From the heartbreak of missing your own championship final to winning the VIP treatment for Derry Senior County Final, it’s been quite a couple of weeks for Bronagh Lowry.
On July 21st, the 28-years-old Faughanvale Ladies player was due to line-out for her club in the Derry Intermediate Ladies final against Claudy. It was a game Bronagh - and her ‘Vale team mates - had been preparing for all season under the stewardship of manager Roland Gurney.
However, two days before the encounter with Claudy, Bronagh’s journey home from her administration job in Altnagelvin Hospital turned into a round trip and put pay to her final.
“We were in the championship final but I was involved in a car accident coming home from work on the Thursday with the final due to be played on the Saturday,” lamented the centre-half forward.
“I wasn’t able to play, unfortunately, which was disappointing but, at the end of the day, I walked away from the accident which was the main thing.
“My neck, my back and my arm were all badly hurt. I busted my nose and suffered concussion as well and it was just unfortunate it happened so close to the final but, then again, I was very fortunate not to be injured even more severely than I was.
“Once things settled a bit, I knew I couldn’t play. I couldn’t lift my arm or move my neck that well so there was never any chance I would have been ready.”
Her team-mates didn’t let her down though and the Intermediate Championship was brought back to Greysteel, even if there was the disappointment of not being able to play a full part.
“There were plenty of phone calls and messages of support from the girls to see how I was. The girls were brilliant. Even after the final a lot of the players were saying to me they did it for me and stuff, which was nice to hear but I knew they were going to win it.
“We have trained hard all year. We’ve been running three times a week and every one has really put a big effort in.
“Look, you can replace a car but the girls went out and did the business in the final,” added Bronagh. “They won the Championship so I still have Ulster to look forward to.”
The consummate team player Bronagh has fought her way back to fitness and is preparing for an October date with either the Armagh or Down champions but there was to be another twist in her ‘championship’ tale.
Quite aside from, and long before the drama of the accident and the victory over Claudy, the City Hotel, O’Neill’s Sportswear and Derry GAA teamed up to think of ways to celebrate the opening of Derry City’s impressive new flagship O’Neill’s store.
A competition was arranged with the winner in line to receive Dinner, Bed and Breakfast and an overnight stay in the City Hotel’s exclusive 7th floor along with a £100 O’Neill’s voucher and two VIP tickets for the Derry County final.
You’ve guessed it. The player who missed her own final will be guest of honour at the biggest match in the county.
“The competition was run through facebook and it’s one of those things you never expect to hear any more about,” laughs Bronagh, “I’ve done them a million times. After I shared it, I never thought much more about it so it was quite a shock to hear I had been selected as a winner and quite a coincidence after I had to miss our own Derry final.
“It is a really nice bonus after the accident and the disappointment of missing the final.”
Linda Lynch, City Hotel Sales & Marketing Manager, this week joined Bronagh to present her with her prize.
“As a proud supporter of Derry GAA, we are only too happy to join with them and O’Neills for this competition to mark the opening of the new O’Neills Superstore in Derry,” explained Mrs Lynch, “The response we had to the competition, with over 2,000 entries, was overwhelming and we look forward to welcoming Bronagh to the hotel for her break.”
Echoing those sentiments, Orla Ward, Business Development Manager with O’Neills, was delighted with the competition’s success.
“We are absolutely delighted with the response to this competition, as we are with the reception we have had since opening our new O’Neills Superstore in Waterloo Place. With thanks to Derry GAA and the City Hotel, we have put together a great prize, which I’m sure Bronagh will appreciate.”
Bronagh’s overnight stay with be on the evening before this year’s County final on October 21st but before she can enjoy it, she is determined to get back playing with the ‘Vale.
“The Ulster Championship will come up in October but we haven’t been give a date yet. The girls had a week off after the final and I’m hoping to be back in training this weekend so thankfully I didn’t miss too much. I am feeling a lot better now thankfully.
“We will definitely be giving Ulster a good crack. We have been playing well and if we avoid any more injuries, then we’ll be ready to have a have a real go at it.”