Cork Sports Partnership and FAI initiative is getting women back playing soccer

“The programme caters for all, we have a diverse range of ages, abilities and backgrounds but everyone feels comfortable and welcome, this is a very inclusive."
Cork Sports Partnership and FAI initiative is getting women back playing soccer

Participants enjoying the Cork Sports Partnership and FAI programme for women's soccer at Leisureworld, Bishopstown.

FUN, fitness, friendship and football.

Cork Sports Partnership and the FAI have come together again with yet another new programme that has increased the participation of Women’s soccer on a social aspect.

The programme which began back in October in Leisureworld Bishopstown has proven to be a huge success and Sports development officer James Kirby is thrilled with the huge interest.

“It has been a fantastic few months seeing our numbers increase each week,” said Kirby.

“The weekly programme that began 12 weeks ago offers participants the opportunity to get active, make new friends, have fun and enjoy the game.

“We now have two groups, totalling 28 women participating, one group in week 12 the second group are into week six and I must say everyone is enjoying it immensely.

“The programme caters for all, we have a diverse range of ages, abilities and backgrounds but everyone feels comfortable and welcome, this is a very inclusive programme.

“We finished up for Christmas with a fun blitz with three teams from our Bishopstown programmes, one team from the Glen Linc Rebels, two teams from West Cork and two teams from event hosts Innishvilla AFC and this proved a huge success.

“It was an opportunity for the girls to come together as a team and play against other groups, and again making new friends.”


Miriam Deasy from Bandon was one of the participants who thoroughly enjoyed the programme to date and she was responsible for cutting the Christmas break short in order to have an extra session.

“It has been brilliant,” said Deasy.

“For me, it’s ages since I’ve kicked a football and I’m also slowly recovering from a concussion so it’s great to ease my way back into it. The coaches have been excellent and every session is full of variety. What I like about the programme is that there is a great range of ages and abilities.

“Some say they’ve never kicked a ball but I’m not sure of that as everyone seems to have some idea of the game but it’s great craic and we all get on well. Initially, we set out to do it for maybe three weeks but there was a huge interest and 12 weeks later we’re still here enjoying it more than ever.

“We’re on astro it’s clean, no special gear required just runners. It’s all about fun. We started out as walking football which is actually more difficult than what you think. The temptation is to run which is a challenge in itself.”

One of the coaches on the programme is Carrigaline man Gus Bowen and he is enjoying the programme which is different to anything he has done before.

“I’ve been coaching for six weeks and it’s been brilliant,” said Bowen. “They’re a joy to coach because they show so much interest. At times when you talk about football formations, they’re brutally honest and they tell me they never even realised there were such things as formations in football but it’s great because they’re willing to learn about the game.”

For some participants, the programme was a way of coming out to meet friends and for Grainne O’Donovan from Douglas, picking up the sport after years out has given her a huge appetite to stay involved in the game.

“I played five-a-side indoor soccer as a teenager and always enjoyed it,” said Grainne. “The atmosphere is great, always a good laugh and the coaching is excellent. 

I honestly wouldn’t miss it for anything no matter what the weather was like. I highly recommend it for any woman looking to play a bit of ball and have a really good social aspect to the sessions.”

Claire Dowling from Fermoy was another participant who took up the sport for the first time and who is now hoping to join up with a team in the summer to play in the CWSSL.

“I never played any sport before so it was all so new to me. Everybody is so friendly and there’s no pressure on anybody. It’s been a fantastic few weeks and now I hope to maybe sign for a team to play in the women’s Cork league.”

Kirby is looking forward to the programme developing in the new year.

“We are now looking forward to starting up a new programme group in January whilst our other two groups continue side by side.”

Anyone interested in joining email or check out Cork Sports Partnerships social media pages for regular updates.

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