Niall O'Regan has played a big part in increasing the number of female soccer coaches in Cork and beyond

Niall O'Regan has played a big part in increasing the number of female soccer coaches in Cork and beyond
Coaches Barbara O'Connell and Marcus Grant in Abbotstown. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

THERE has been a massive increase of female coaches in the game of football throughout the country and this development is mainly down to Cork man Niall O’Regan.

O’Regan is the Coach Education Manager of the FAI and over the past number of years, he has done unbelievable work in educating so many coaches in the Men’s and Women’s game.

He was responsible for the first All women’s UEFA B course which graduated last year with six Cork girls part of such an elite group.

The Coach Education department of the FAI continue to grow in all aspects of the game and in particular, a huge push on the female game is always prompted by O’Regan, a former Women’s Manager at Cork City Women’s.

The busy father of two is working closely with the head of the women’s football in Ireland Sue Ronan, and next weekend they will bring another huge event to Cork where they will deliver a Female Game coaching conference in Rochestown Park.

It will be held on February 8 and with a limited amount of places available, O’Regan urges any interested coaches to contact him through email to book a place.

The event is free of charge and it promises to be a worthwhile conference with many top speakers in attendance.

"Our event is a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) program, designed around male and female coaches actively and aiming to coach in the Female Game," said O'Regan.

FAI Coach Education Manager Niall O'Regan speaking during the FAI Coach Education Pathway event in Abbotstown, Dublin. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
FAI Coach Education Manager Niall O'Regan speaking during the FAI Coach Education Pathway event in Abbotstown, Dublin. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The conference is the third annual event and we are delighted to have the Republic of Ireland Women’s Head Coach Vera Pauw as the 2020 Keynote Speaker. We will also have Sue Ronan, Head of women's Football and James Scott women's U17 head coach as well as others.

The event will run from 10.30am until 5.30pm.

"One of the key ambitions for us in Coach Education is the continued growth of all aspects of the game and over the past few years, it has been imperative for us to ensure the continued growth of the female game. Examples of this include the provision of two fully-funded female-only UEFA B Licence courses with over 50 female coaches being qualified by year-end 2020.

"A second priority here is the placement of these female coaches into active positions within the game, and I am delighted to see over 20 of the original 26 female coaches who completed this course in 2018/19 being active in coaching, with a number of the coaches working in WNL and with our underage international teams.

"A second major priority in the growth of the female game is the acknowledgement of the male coaches who are active and also to encourage other male coaches to the female game and this event is a fabulous opportunity to show what is currently available within the female game for male and female coaches.

"The event has 200 places and we currently have only 40 left and I would hope to have the event booked out in the coming days."

Head of Women's football Sue Ronan is looking forward to the event and hopes as many coaches as possible can make what will be a worthwhile event.

“‘One of the key priorities of the FAI is to upskill the coaches working in women’s football and events like this Annual Coaches Conference, specifically aimed at the female game, helps enormously with that priority," said Ronan.

This event is now in its third year and has proven to be very popular over the years with a number of excellent speakers contributing to its success.

"This year we’re particularly delighted that our keynote speaker is our current National Team Head Coach – Vera Pauw. Vera has a huge wealth of experience and knowledge in women’s football, from her own playing career to her coaching career where she has coached many national teams the world over.

"I’ve no doubt all our coaches will take away some great learnings listening to Vera’s experience in the game."

One of last year’s graduates from the UEFA B was Cobh girl Amy O’Reilly.

Amy has just returned from the States where she enjoyed coaching young kids and using her experience from the UEFA course to develop her players.

“I have absolutely loved my time in the States,” said O’Reilly.

"Coaching kids is what I love. As a coach and still learning I have gained so much experience through my time in the States but I would never have the opportunity to do so if it wasn’t for doing my badges in Ireland. I did the UEFA B last year and it was a fantastic experience.

"I learned so much from it. The tutors were top class providing us with so much information and guiding us to be the best coaches we can be. It’s fantastic to see Niall and the FAI developing the women’s game in particular, and it would be great to see more young coaches get involved as there are so many opportunities.”

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