It highlighted the appetite for female sport, yet there is a problem at the root of female sports in this country – participation numbers once girls reach adolescence, are abysmal.
Studies have shown that over half of girls drop out of sport by the time they reach 14 and they are three times more likely to quit than boys. These statistics aren’t just alarming in terms of our nation’s girls’ physical well-being but also in terms of their mental well-being.
A new six-part docu-series, Keep It Up, which starts on RTÉ2 on Tuesday, May 3, at 5pm aims to address this issue.
In it, basketball star, PE teacher and Today TV show host Emer O’Neill brings together nine teenage girls who have either given up sport or never played. The results are explosive. The girls will have their say and even with all opportunities, will they Keep it Up?
Puberty, bullying, crop tops, cliques, team sport versus singular sports, smelly dressing rooms, spray tans, everything is discussed.
We follow the girls’ successes and their failures over the course of an intense two week period as they prepare to take on a ‘proper’ basketball team in the National Basketetball Arena. Will they be humiliated? Will these strangers gel on and off the court?
In the series, which is shot, directed, and fully crewed by an all-female crew, we’ll hear from the teens first-hand why they gave up sport and learn some of the pressure that Ireland’s young women are faced with today, and we’ll follow them as they re-start their journey back to sports.
To help keep spirits high, when times get tough, a team of experts are on-hand to offer advice, including Cork football legend Valerie Mulchay, soccer ace Stephanie Roche, rugby player Sena Naoupu, and the 1974 Offaly women’s teams, who played in the first-ever women’s All-Ireland final in borrowed boots and jerseys from their brothers.