By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)
The Republic of Ireland might not have qualified for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France, but the game in Ireland is on the up.
This week, both Bray Wanderers and Kilkenny United have announced their intention to enter teams in the SÓ Hotels Under 17 Women’s National League in 2020, with Bray also hoping to join the Senior ranks in the future. In June Shamrock Rovers also announced plans to link up with Lucan United to form an Under 17 Women’s team next season.
Chairman of Bray Wanderers Niall O’Driscoll said, “The club has already had discussions with its partner clubs and the key local clubs, and intends to develop and compete with the established women’s teams and to become one of the top girls/women’s clubs in the country,”
“Having had two daughters play football when they were younger and them not having had the same opportunities as boys is no longer acceptable in 2020.”
“Our long-term plan with our partner clubs is to have a complete pathway for girls from age eight right up to senior level for every girl should they want to play football”
“We have started the ball rolling and the interest is fantastic with work already started to identify the players that will form the Under 17 side.
“Scouting will cover all eligible players and the club intends to build a team that will compete at the highest level against the top teams in the Só Hotels Women’s Under 17 National League.”
Kilkenny United Chairman Shane Murray, “The club believes that with the introduction of an Under 17 team, it will help with the development of the club at Senior level and will continue to develop the girls game in Kilkenny and surrounding counties, offering more opportunities for girls in the area.”
“The club will be launching free weekly training sessions for girls aged 5-10 years in the Watershed, starting in 2 weeks. This is part of the clubs plan to development of girls football in the local community. Kilkenny United is excited about this, with the aim of creating a lasting impact that will result in a positive and permanent swing in terms of the overall participation in Women’s soccer in Kilkenny.”
“We are building a clear pathway and promotion with the introduction of the Under 17’s team in the club.”
If all three teams are successful it will bring the number of teams in the Under 17 league to 15.