By the age of 13-15, teenage girls are living by the label ‘not sporty’, according to research from Sport Ireland.
For Cork camogie legend turned TV presenter Anna Geary, sport has played a vital role in her life, and she is desperate to understand and investigate the drop-out rate among teenage girls.
It is a topic she investigates in the two-part documentary Anna Geary: Why Girls Quit Sport on RTÉ2 on Thursday at 9.30pm.
A Milford-born winner of four All Star awards, Anna grapples in the documentary with an abundance of unforeseen circumstances and obstacles as she is forced to pivot and adapt to a new normal where contact sport is banned because of the pandemic.
The series follows the four-time All-Ireland winning Cork Camogie captain as she takes on her biggest challenge yet: to create a Ladies Gaelic football team from the students of Ringsend College, a school on the outskirts of Dublin city where just a handful of female students play sports.
In just eight weeks, Anna will have to encourage the girls to sign up, turn up, and form a team which is ready to play against other school teams in a GAA blitz.
Meeting experts throughout, she will look at current research which aims to explain the current state of play, and learn some startling statistics about the impacts of inactivity on teenagers’ mental health.
Episode one sets out Anna’s stall. She is disheartened by the apparent apathy of teenage girls to the sport. Sport has given her some of the best experiences of her life so she wants to gain a deeper understanding of the drop-out rate, and wants to show teenage girls the positives they can gain from being physically active.
Professor Niall Moyna explain to her how big the problem is in terms of figures, and explains the ramifications of inactivity on future generations’ health.
We also hear about Ringsend College, a secondary school where only a handful of its female students play sports. Some of them explain the reasons why they gave up sports, why they never wanted to play, and how they currently spend their free time.
Anna pitches her idea of forming a Gaelic football team to the female students and is surprised that over 30 girls sign up. Then the pandemic hits...