Electric Ireland is to extend the Game Changers NI campaign to include a new cup competition for girls’ teams in Northern Ireland.
The introduction of the Electric Ireland Girls’ Challenge Cup builds on the brand’s partnership with the Irish Football Association and its Game Changers NI campaign which aims to increase the opportunities for girls and women across Northern Ireland to be able to play and watch the beautiful game.
The energy provider is already the lead sponsor for women’s and girls’ grassroots football, the Northern Ireland youth international teams as well as the elite player pathway and the title sponsor of the Northern Ireland senior women’s international team as part of its long term commitment to women’s football.
The closing date for entries for the new U16/U15 competition is 31 August and the competition is open to all women’s/girls’ clubs in membership of the Irish Football Association.
Anne Smyth from Electric Ireland said: “Electric Ireland is delighted to see this competition launch and more opportunities for the next generation of girls to play in a really competitive cup. It is such an exciting time for the game locally and we are thrilled to see such an appetite to create this new competition.”
Elaine Junk, chair of the Irish FA’s Women’s Challenge Cup Committee, which is overseeing the new competition, said: “Over the last couple of years the Electric Ireland Game Changers NI campaign in partnership with the Irish Football Association has really helped increase the profile, media coverage and participation numbers of young girls playing football in Northern Ireland.
“Given the recent success of the senior women’s team qualifying for the Euros in 2022 there are now many more young girls aspiring to play for Northern Ireland and pull on the green jersey.
“It gives the Women’s Challenge Cup Committee at the Irish FA and Electric Ireland great pleasure to announce the inaugural girls’ national cup competition.
“The introduction of this youth competition will allow clubs from all across Northern Ireland to compete for this trophy and we expect the cup matches to be keenly contested. We would like to thank Electric Ireland for its unwavering support for the girls’ and women’s game here and we look forward to crowning our first ever Girls’ Challenge Cup champions later in the year.”
Those taking part in the inaugural competition must be born between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2007 to be eligible to play, while each club is permitted to submit only one entry to the competition.
And to be eligible to play in the competition players must also be registered to play for their club in their respective league competitions (via Comet FMS).
A player registering with her club after 30 September in any season will not be eligible to play in the competition. Players shall be permitted to play for one club only in any season in the Girls’ Challenge Cup.
The fixture schedule for the first edition of the new competition will be confirmed once all entries have been received and checked. It is expected that it will run from September to December.
All entries should be submitted via Comet and the entry fee is £10.
Image: Elaine Junk (left), chair of the Irish FA’s Women’s Challenge Cup Committee, and Electric Ireland’s Anne Smyth with the new Girls’ Challenge Cup trophy.