Fingal and FAI announce first TY football and fitness course

by Rose Barrett
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Fingal County Council and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) announced earlier this week that the first Transition Year Football and Fitness course for girls to commence in August next.

The year-long programme will mirror the successful course for boys that has been running since 2016 in Corduff Sports Centre. It gives TY students an opportunity to sample full-time football training while also fulfilling their educational requirements and obtaining qualifications in coaching and fitness training.

The new course was officially launched by Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony, FAI Head of Women’s Football, Eileen Gleeson, Fingal County Council’s Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly and FAI President Gerry McAnaney at County Hall in Swords.

Fingal Transition Year Football and Fitness course for girls launched by Fingal County Council earlier this week, with Eileen Gleeson of the FAI and Fingal Mayor Howard Mahony, along with Fingal Councillors and Executives

Over the course of the 2023-24 school year, the 25 Transition Year students participating in the programme will mix their academic subjects with a range of football coaching courses and modules in Fitness Instruction, Media Skills and Personal Development, as well as football training and strength and conditioning work.

In addition, the participants will undertake an ITEC Fitness Instructors Course delivered by Litton Lane Fitness Training. They will also return to their local primary school as role models once a week to work with teachers in the delivery of physical education and to coach the next generation of players.

Mayor Mahony, said: “Fingal County Council was the first local authority to partner with the FAI back in 2005 and introduce co-funded Football Development Officers. We progressed that to run the boys’ TY course, which started in 2016 and is an excellent example of the many benefits that have resulted from our long-running partnership. Starting this TY course is a logical next step and it’s great to be announcing it in the same year that the Ireland Women’s National Team will play at the World Cup finals for the first time.”

Ms Gleeson, said: “We are delighted to launch the first Transition Year Football and Fitness course for girls as it aligns with the aims set out in the 2022-2025 FAI Strategy to continue the development of women and girls’ football and will help further strengthen the player pathway for girls. 

Pictured in Swords Castle are Ellie Kirwin, aged 13 and Layla Donohue, aged 12 from Swords Manor FC. The year-long programme will mirror the successful course for boys that has been running since 2016 in Corduff Sports Centre. It gives TY students an opportunity to sample full-time football training while also fulfilling their educational requirements and obtaining qualifications in coaching and fitness training.

“It is important that we continue to supply equal opportunities for women and girls and this course, which has been a great success for the boys, represents that. We look forward to working with Fingal County Council on making this course the best that it can be for the girls involved.” 

FCC Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly said: “We currently have six Football Development Officers across the county and the work being done by Paul Keogh, Sharon Boyle, Sean Moore, Jamie Wilson, Paul Breen and Denis Hyland is really making a positive difference within our communities, whether it is through the rollout of school programmes, the development of women’s football, the running of Late Night Leagues or the implementation of the FAI Club Mark Programme. 

“We have seen over the past seven years the positive impact a course like this can have in the development of young people and we are aware that young girls within our communities have sporting ambitions. This programme will give participants an excellent opportunity to develop and enhance their sporting skills while staying within the education system and giving something back to their local communities through the work experience module of the course.”

Course Co-ordinator Denis Hyland, who is a co-funded FAI Development Officer with Fingal, said: “This course allows the players to live in a proper football environment for a year while also meeting their educational needs. While we have the benefit of the lessons learned from the boys’ course, it will still be a journey of discovery for us as this is the first-time girls have been brought into a full-time football coaching and training programme.” 

The TY programme is jointly delivered by FCC’s Sports Office and the FAI, and will be based at the world-class Sport Ireland Campus in Abbotstown. The FAI is currently recruiting two coaches to run the course, while scouting teams are currently identifying potential participants who will be invited to trials in early May. The course will start at the same time as the 2023-24 academic year and will follow the post-primary school calendar.

Photos Shane O’Neill, Coalesce.

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