St Mary’s rebuilding schoolgirls section: Aim is to have as many girls playing at the club as boys

Barbara O'Connell talks to Laura Kiniry Power about the great work being done on the northside
St Mary’s rebuilding schoolgirls section: Aim is to have as many girls playing at the club as boys

St Mary's have a schoolgirls section with 30 players enjoying the sport.

AFTER a decade, the girls are back at St Mary’s.

They currently have 30 players on the books at the northside club, with a promising future ahead for the young stars.

With the aim to have equal numbers alongside the boys in their academy, the current committee are working hard to increase participation and recently I caught up with Laura Kiniry Power who is a key figure in driving the girls' game at the club.

The mother of four from Fairhill has been heavily involved in the club with her husband Bernard Power, a former player, while her three sons currently play. And while her newborn granddaughter Orla is far off the starting age at the moment, it hasn’t stopped Laura from giving her time to the girls. Here she tells about her involvement and her aims for the club.

“My three sons Ryan, Evan and Davin play for the club and I spent so much time in St Mary's Park so I said I might as well make myself useful and give back as the club has been so important to my family throughout the years,” said Laura.

“My sons live and breathe football and spend every spare minute in Mary's Park kicking a ball with friends they’ve made for life. My husband played for the club when he was younger and it makes him so proud to see our boys in the black and white so for us it certainly is a family affair.

My role in the club is to run the development committee but I am delighted to have started the girls teams." 

She loves coaching them, it’s a new challenge but one she's thoroughly enjoying.

"After 10 years we have girls back in the club and it’s great. We have two girls teams, U12 and U15, with the help of Derek Coughlan from the FAI who made it possible with the Girls in Green program. The girls we have are a great bunch and have really gelled together brilliantly. For us what’s great to see is new faces every week, and we hope this continues.

St Mary's have a schoolgirls section with 30 players enjoying the sport.
St Mary's have a schoolgirls section with 30 players enjoying the sport.

“It is important in 2023 for all clubs to be balanced with both boys and girls. The girls are tough out and would give the boys a run for their money and that makes us really excited as we look to enter teams into the league for the first time next season.

We have big plans for the girls next season as we are hoping to enter the league with two or three girls teams and we hope by 2025 to have as many girls as we have boys in the club.

“This month we are starting another FAI program called Disney Playmakers. It is for girls aged five to eight so we can't wait to get this up and running. It will be fantastic for the club."


All this wouldn’t be possible without the help of so many volunteers, the committee and some great sponsors. 

"The teams are managed by myself, Ken Daly, Nora O’Riordan, John and Tara Murphy so a great mix of both male and female coaches. We would love as time goes on to get more parents involved as we always need an extra pair of hands. I find parents are a little intimidated by the thought of it when asked to fall in and help as they feel they might not have enough experience but they will learn as they go and the FAI have so many courses available it's really great to start on the coaching journey for anyone interested.

“Our chairman Richard Daly and the committee has really got behind the girls and gave it the space and time to grow in such a busy club. We have big plans for the club hoping to put in a full all-weather pitch. It is badly needed in the area and it will benefit the club and the local community.

“We have started our weekly lotto to help with the fundraising towards this and our sponsors have been brilliant without them we wouldn't be able to do what we do. For the girls, Jimmy Doherty of JD Scaffolding and Pat Ahern from T&A Blackpool has kindly sponsored the girls teams with full kits and are fantastic with continued sponsorship whenever asked and without the local businesses helping out teams our club wouldn't be what it is." 

It’s a great time to be part of an ever-growing fantastic club.

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