Cork Soccer: Carrigtwohill academy thriving after starting out with one U13 team

In just two years the East Cork club has seen numbers boom as Colum McCarthy explains
Cork Soccer: Carrigtwohill academy thriving after starting out with one U13 team

Carrigtwohill manager Colum McCarthy with the U14 squad. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CARRIGTWOHILL’S schoolgirls academy was established just two years ago, and it’s already been a huge hit, with manager Colum McCarthy delighted to see the girls get a real opportunity to play and be part of a team.

“We set up the girls' academy in August 2021, with one team, an U13 squad. There were younger girls there as well, but the team we entered the league with was U13,” he says. “We played friendlies with U14s and U15 because we didn’t have the numbers to play competitively.”

One of the biggest issues for the women’s side of the game has been a lack of funding, infrastructure, and support. However, Colum’s experience suggests quite the opposite.

“We have a great guy in the club, Martin Cambridge, who looks after attracting sponsorship. Without Martin, we wouldn’t have the money to field any team. It’s unfair to say that there are not supports out there. There is when you go looking for it, but knowing where to look for it, is the main thing.

Club members supporting the Carrigtwohill U14 girls team against Dalkey. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Club members supporting the Carrigtwohill U14 girls team against Dalkey. Picture: Eddie O'Hare


What can be done to increase the popularity of sports like soccer among young girls?

“It’s all about the schools, and about keeping the game simple. Girls are so different to boys when it comes to playing sport. 

Girls will play to enjoy themselves, with the competitive nature coming second, and that’s what I do.

“The most important thing to me is that the girls are happy in my company.

“Last summer, we were asked by Ms Fahy from Scoil Chlochair Mhuire in Carrigtwohill would we come down or their sports week. I took a couple of mornings off work, and a couple of the older girls who had finished secondary school came down to help us.

“It was a huge success; all the kids enjoyed it. When we play matches and when we train, we can be serious, but the game isn’t rocket science, let’s not overcomplicate it for girls who may have never kicked a ball.

“Then, you’ll realise how intelligent they are, and how quick they pick it up.”


Colum is determined to see girls receive equity when it comes to sport and highlights how he believes that can be achieved.

“It’s important that secondary schools have soccer teams for girls. I know St Aloysius’ and Carrigtwohill Community College now have teams for their girls.

“Ten years ago, that was practically unheard of. The resources are there, the girls are there.

“Once you make it enjoyable, you will get 110% from them all the time.”

Carrigtwohill supporters. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Carrigtwohill supporters. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Despite the efforts of Colum and countless other individuals and organisations working to improve the sporting opportunities available to girls, there remains one key issue. Most girls will quit sport before the end of their teenage years.

“You need to educate them about the long-term benefits of sport. Girls would be more into social media, and they have these influencers promising this and promoting that.

It’s all a load of rubbish. I think the main thing for girls is to keep them enjoying themselves.

“Let them have fun, don’t be afraid to let them express themselves.”



 Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Amelia Sheehan (C), Anna Madden, Alex O’Flynn, Aoife Kenny, Brooke Kiniry, Caitlin Egan, Caoimhe Egan, Emily Bernard, Gemma O’Callaghan, Carragh Duffy, Karla Edwards, Kinga Prajsnar, Lily O’Connell, Maedhbh Carroll, Majka Kurek, Megan Walker, Rebecca Doyle, Sarah Cronin, Sophia Redmond, Kaci Rice, Claire Crowley, Katlyn O’Leary, Kayla Kidney.

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