A photograph of three mothers and their daughters representing the Ibane ladies junior football team went viral recently.
The West Cork club only came into existence seven years ago but has been building steadily at both adult and underage level.
Drawing players from three different parishes, Ibane showed they are a force to be reckoned with by reaching the 2020 Cork LGFA 13/15-a-side junior C county final only to come up short to Cloyne.
Paul and Karen O’Callaghan plus Kay Collins were involved in setting up Ibane ladies football club.
Like every other Cork LGFA side, Ibane only recently returned to training and active duty following a Covid-enforced layoff.
The West Cork club’s county league victory over Shamrocks represented another positive result but was made even more significant because it involved three mothers and daughters representing the fledgling setup.
Elaine McCarthy and her daughter Alison, Teresa Tobin and her daughter Grace and Tracey Fleming and her daughter Tara all lined out for Ibane in that win over Shamrocks.
Each of the mothers involved were delighted to get such a unique opportunity as Ibane continues to promote players from their minor and U16 ranks.
“My daughter Grace and I have had great fun although she is not allowed call me mum while we are out on the pitch,” Ibane’s Teresa Tobin informed the Echo.
“Invariably, she does call me mum the odd time and like my two fellow team mates (and mothers) I get the odd ‘aww’ every now and again if something goes wrong. Overall though, it has been great fun to play alongside Grace and represent Ibane together.
“We all take playing football seriously even though there is a social side to representing Ibane as well. That’s equally important. There are six or seven mothers on the panel but their children are still a bit young to join up with the panel just yet.
"Their time will come too and hopefully, they will get to enjoy the experience of playing alongside their daughters like we have.
“It is fun but there is a serious side too. We get plenty shouts from the side-line if things aren’t going right during training or matches. We love training, playing together and being part of the Ibane team. That is what it is all about.”
Tobin’s sentiments were echoed by team mate Tracey Fleming who is thankful to have such an important social outlet in her local area.
“I worried that my daughter Tara might be highly embarrassed at first but she told me that if I’m having fun out on the pitch then she would enjoy it too. It has been great fun to be honest with you,” Tracey Fleming added.
“Playing ladies football for Ibane keeps us all fit and gives everyone a reason to get out and go training or play a match. It is definitely more enjoyable after Covid.
“Thursday night is training night and my favourite night of the week. Usually, we are driving our kids to their training or dropping them off somewhere. Getting the opportunity to go out on the pitch ourselves and train on the same team as our daughters is great fun.
“From the mental health side of things, you are getting out, meeting people and socialising while training. Everyone is enjoying their football more than ever especially after being inside for long because of Covid.”
Ibane’s goalkeeper Elaine McCarthy has also enjoyed the experience of representing her club and getting the chance to play alongside her daughter Alison.
“I still haven’t lived down giving my daughter Alison a bad pass during that Shamrocks game and will be reminded of it for a long time to come,” McCarthy admitted.
“Playing ladies football has meant we have gotten to know so many other people from different parishes that we mightn’t otherwise have come across. We have made genuine friends and that’s why the Ibane ladies football team has been a success.
“For anyone thinking of joining up, I would say that it is not just a case of going training, playing a match and then going home. There is plenty banter, good fun and socialising when you are part of our squad.
“Ibane is fortunate to have such a dedicated management team too. They always have everything ready for us before training and push us to improve at every training session.
"We got to a county final last year which just proves all the work our management team has been putting in is worthwhile.”