The festival celebrated the power of female football leading up to International Women’s Day. The goal of the festival was to raise awareness about women’s football in Northern Ireland and to educate players by offering workshops on Nutrition delivered by Irish FA Education Officer, Claire Adams and Show Racism the Red Card delivered by Irish FA Club Development Officer, Diarmuid O’Carroll.
Teams represented in the under 15 section included St Oliver Plunkett, Foyle Belles, Glenavon Academy, CSP, Rosario FC, Coleraine Ladies, Cliftonville Ladies, Downpatrick Ladies, Sion Swifts, Carnmoney Ladies, Ballymena All Stars, Willowbank Girls and Bangor Ladies.
Downpatrick Ladies Manger Emma Bohill was full of praise for the event. She said, “This event provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase Women’s and Girls’ football in Northern Ireland. We appreciate the opportunity to take part. The girls had a ball and it was a really good experience for them. I thought the nutrition and racism sessions were a great addition to the day.”
The senior section had 16 teams taking part, including Crusaders Strikers, Killyleagh Ladies, Kilmore Rec, Banbridge Town Ladies, Roe Valley Ladies, Chimney Corner Ladies, Carrick Rangers, Portadown Intergraded Ladies, Newtown Forest, Crewe United, Belfast Celtic Ladies, Lurgan Town Ladies, Mid Ulster Ladies, Comber Rec Ladies and Glentoran Belfast United.
All participating clubs were rewarded with ten Adidas footballs, ladders, one set 5x3 samba goals, cones and bibs. All players received fruit, smoothies, water and a Let Them Play t-shirt. The day was staffed by the Irish FA Volunteer Team who were on hand to distribute the equipment.
Irish FA Football Development Manager Keith Gibson commented, “We were delighted to partner with OFMDFM in delivering this Female Football Festival. Developing the Female game is a huge part of the IFA football strategies especially developing the capacity of clubs. Through this funding we were able to supply much needed equipment and deliver educational workshops to players. Further festivals and events will be planned throughout the year as we seek to deliver for clubs.”