Soccer on the Green brought the beautiful game to kids across Cork

Soccer on the Green brought the beautiful game to kids across Cork

Soccer on the Green in Bishopstown organised by Cork City Council in association with the FAI and Cork Sports Partnership. Young Uinseann McCarthy showing great enthusiasm. Picture: Brian Lougheed

As children return to school, Cork City Council’s Soccer on the Green has drawn to a close.

In response to Covid-19 and the fact that many Summer Camps, programmes, and activities had been cancelled, Cork City Council teamed up with the Football Association of Ireland and Cork Sports Partnership to develop Soccer on the Green.

This activity was aimed at young people and was held on greens in housing estates in Cork where coaches helped the boys and girls develop their soccer skills, while having fun. Soccer on the Green reached a socially diverse group of young people across Cork City.

Eoin McCarthy with James Kirby, Cork Sports Partnership and Niamh Fitzgerald, Cork City Council. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Eoin McCarthy with James Kirby, Cork Sports Partnership and Niamh Fitzgerald, Cork City Council. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Sessions were held in Greenwood Estate in Togher, Bracken Court Estate in Donnybrook, Lios Rua Estate in Ballyvolane, Bishopscourt Green in Bishopstown, St Joseph’s Park in Glanmire and Coolroe Meadows in Ballincollig. Training was also held in conjunction with Foróige in Mahon and Curaheen and with Tusla in Fitzgerald’s Park. 

A further session was held with a local youth group in Churchfield.

The past few months activities during these difficult periods was a team effort with the FAI, Cork City Council and the local residents association, which proved to be a huge success among the many kids are parents. It was a chance to see where football can create a little bit of magic.

Community Development officer Ray Claffey was thrilled with the outcome and he was delighted to play his part in having the kids back out playing with their friends, while adhering to the social guidelines.

It was great to see the players really enjoy the sessions we held,” said Claffey. 

"They had a difficult few months of not seeing their friends and not playing team sports so it was great to get them back out doing a little bit. We were all aware of the social, mental, and physical health benefits that such physical activity can bring so it was great for us in the FAI and the City council, to be able to play our part in helping these kids to be active once again."

Shane O'Halloran gets some encouragement from coach Ray Claffey during the Soccer on the Green initiative in Glanmire this summer. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Shane O'Halloran gets some encouragement from coach Ray Claffey during the Soccer on the Green initiative in Glanmire this summer. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Cork City Council’s Sports & Sustainability Section did great work in identifying safe and suitable locations across the city for the programme to be rolled out to. All of the residents involved from the various estates were thrilled to see the kids back out on their green, and avid soccer fan Lord Mayor Joe Kavanagh praised the work done by coaches and also the Residents' Associations.

“I’ve been really impressed by how engaged and inventive about keeping fit the young people of Cork have been during this pandemic and they deserve great credit for this. We aim to make Cork a responsive and inclusive city but also a fun, active and healthy one and Soccer on the Green met all of the criteria. 

"Great credit is due to all who were involved. There was great work done by the coaches who were excellent with every child who took part. 

"To the Residents' Association who are continuously doing fantastic work in keeping the kids entertained. A lot of work was put in by the FAI, City council and groups such as Foroige and Tusla, and all in the interest of the kids.

Dympna Murphy, Head of the Sport and Sustainability Section in Cork City Council, was delighted that the council were able to run such a fantastic program.

"The City Council were delighted to be involved in activities such as the Soccer on the green. It was wonderful to see the kids getting fresh air and exercise on their doorstep. It's important to stay healthy in body as well as mind.” 

Claffey took on his new role as Community Development officer and was delighted to see Soccer on the Green such a success with the local people of the city.

“My job is to promote the game of football in Cork City and to prove that the game can be played by all, regardless of background, age or ability,” said Claffey. 

Ben Murphy racing away towads goal. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Ben Murphy racing away towads goal. Picture: Brian Lougheed

"Soccer on the Green was a great initiative and it did show that different ages and ability could play the game in a fun and safe environment.

“Cork City Council and the Football Association of Ireland teamed up to roll out a Football in the Community Development Programme and I was delighted to get on board as the Community Development Officer for Cork City.

“The goal of this programme is to increase participation in football, incorporate social inclusion through football, develop emerging talent and to educate coaches and volunteers in relation to best practice. 

"By delivering active football development at grassroots level to key target groups, and by developing partnerships and co-ordination between local statutory and voluntary bodies it is hoped that there will be increased participation and opportunities for participation in football in Cork City.

“During the past few months, it was more evident to a lot of people just how important sport can be. Whether it’s to keep fit and healthy or meet friends, it’s really important and I am delighted that we all played a little part in helping families over the past few months during these difficult times. 

"It is great to see team sports back up and running and I hope more kids can get involved.”

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