Cobh Ramblers U17s on a learning curve in first season says Aoife O'Brien

O'Brien previously worked with Cork's Gaynor Cup squad at U15 level
Cobh Ramblers U17s on a learning curve in first season says Aoife O'Brien

New Cobh Ramblers womens U17 manager Aoife O'Brien

IT'S a busy period for Cobh Ramblers U17 women’s manager Aoife O’Brien. 

She has settled into her new role at St Colman's Park and while it is not the best of starts to the season, she is aware it's a learning curve for the club's first-ever women’s National League side.

O'Brien was previously involved with Cork's Gaynor Cup representative squad at U15 level.

“Cobh were looking to embark on the women's side of the game and they put up on social media and asked for interest in a manager position for U17 which straight away interested me,” said O’Brien. 

"I thought it suited me perfectly. I just finished managing U15 Gaynor and completed my B licence so I felt it was the next step to manage a national league club. I also play football and live in Cobh so I was delighted at the possibility of having national league football at my doorstep.

“The first year of anything is hard, registering a full squad of players, getting coaching staff in and sponsors but I’m delighted with how it’s going. We have a great backing behind the scenes and the girls are improving every week

The main goal for us this year is development and hopefully at the end of the season we will have succeeded in improving the players."

They have a squad of 17 at the moment with a few joining in on training every couple of sessions. 

"I would describe our squad as young and exciting. With four of our starting 11 born in 2007 and 16 of the 17 girls made their debut in the national league this season." 

Coach Aoife O'Brien with some of the Cobh Ramblers team.
Coach Aoife O'Brien with some of the Cobh Ramblers team.

They have drawn players from all over Cork. 

"We were very lucky this year with the support we got from some Cork clubs such as Hollyhill, Wilton, Douglas Hall and Riverstown who were really forthcoming with players and were delighted for their girls to push on to the National League. It was a huge help for us as it was hard getting in players but definitely made easier with these clubs' help." 

They are fortunate to have a connection with Springfield Ramblers as well, the local academy club where three of the girls in the panel have come from.

“People might think it’s tough going having two Cork teams in the National League but I feel it’s definitely needed. The more girls we get playing football at a higher level the better. 

"With both teams the possibility of having 40 girls in Cork playing a high level of football every week is great. 

I feel like with only one team some girls get left behind and never get the opportunity to progress on.

“My aims for the season this year is to develop the players, try and teach them good practices and good football but the main aim is to go out and compete in each game for 90 minutes, obviously we will have and had at the weekend some tough games but I want them to continue to try and play and enjoy each game.

“The overall goal is about having a pathway for girls to progress from U17s to senior. Hopefully, there will be a senior team in time. The local senior season in Cork is very limited so giving more girls an opportunity to play football every week from March to October is the dream.” 

Coach Aoife O'Brien and participant Louise Burke at a Youth Leadership Coaching Programme designed by Cork City Council, Cork ETB, Cork Sports Partnership and the FAI. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Coach Aoife O'Brien and participant Louise Burke at a Youth Leadership Coaching Programme designed by Cork City Council, Cork ETB, Cork Sports Partnership and the FAI. Picture: Brian Lougheed

While she’s busy with the club, O’Brien is currently away in Dublin for the U17 championships where she has taken up the role as equipment manager.

“I’m currently away with the WU17 in Dublin where we will be playing three games against Slovakia, Finland and Iceland in the second round of our Euro Qualifiers. 

"My role is the equipment manager. I am delighted that James Scott gave me this opportunity. It is great to be in a professional environment and I am trying to take in as much information as possible to bring back into my role with Cobh at home. 

"It is nice to see the progression also as Chelsea Noonan was in my position a couple of years ago and it is amazing to see that she is the Assistant manager now so there are so many opportunities with being involved with the Irish setup. And I am excited to see what the future holds."

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