The Irish FA hosted the Girls’ National Football Festival on Sunday 9 September at the City of Belfast Playing Fields, Mallusk. In total, 34 teams and over 300 girls participated in the tournament at Under 9, Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17.
Organised to celebrate the conclusion of the SCORE Pilot Project, the event proved to be a huge success with a high standard of football evident on the day.
Following on from the success of the local Ballymoney United Games Development Centre and the increased number of girls attending, the club decided to enter an Under 9 and Under 11 girls’ team into the festival.
Organiser of the event Danielle McDowell (Irish FA Women’s Football Placement Student) commented: “The effort and endeavour shown by all the girls today was first class. Year on year we have seen such an improvement in the standard of girls football and today was a perfect example of the progress being made. Thank you to all the players, coaches and parents for making today such a great event”.
In the past six month the Irish FA has worked hard to deliver the SCORE Pilot Project, funded through the UEFA HatTrick programme, which has provided women’s football clubs with the resources to enable them to establish links with their local primary and post primary schools. Through these school - club links more than 100 girls have been encouraged to take up football and subsequently join a new team. The Girls’ National Football Festival was a celebration of the project and marked the conclusion of the funding cycle.
Speaking at the festival Irish FA Women’s Domestic Football Manager complemented the teams on their work over the last six months on the SCORE Project: “As in all sections of the football family, clubs are the lifeblood of the game. Within women’s football it is no different and through the SCORE Pilot Project we have tried to support our clubs as much as possible by providing resources to allow them to identify and up-skill new coaches. In total, 34 clubs were involved in the project with over 55 coaches participating in some form of coach education. 24 of these coaches delivered five weeks of coaching to 120 primary and post primary schools with almost 2,500 girls participating in the programme. Aside from encouraging more girls to participate in football, one of the most successful elements of the SCORE Pilot Project was the awareness it generated about clubs within their local communities. The 120 schools involved in the project now know who their local women’s football club is and many are keen to continue with these links in the foreseeable future”.
For further information please contact Sara, Jackie or Danielle in the Irish FA Women’s Department on 028 90684725.