Rathpeacon Abù

I’d like to nominate Terence McCarthy, Colm Kelleher, Ben Wood, Padraig Lynch, Katie Kelleher, Maeve Philpott Kevin Hedderman and Kevin Downey, the under 12 trainers in Rathpeacon/Blarney GAA Club who have started the first ever ladies football team in the club. Rathpeacon provides football training sessions for girls and boys on Monday nights for many years. While our boys play hurling and football with Blarney and our girls play camogie with Blarney, there was no outlet for girls to play football. In early 2022, Rathpeacon started a new initiative to field ladies football teams from U6 to U14. This was done in partnership with Blarney camogie. Blarney would field camogie teams and Rathpeacon would field ladies football teams. There are two teams that have been borne from this initiative – U12 and U14. In reality there was only one actual U14 girl, a handful of U13’s so the U12 girls played both leagues. It’s a been a very cohesive joined up approach. The coaches worked hard to blend the girls together, camogie buddies, school friends and neighbours working hard on basic skills fitness and of course fun! They’re having so much fun they will continue training over the summer. There is great commitment from the coaching staff and girls/families. The post match write ups are really incredible, including every girls name on the team and what they brought to the game. It’s inclusion in the highest degree! Both U12 and U14 entered the ladies football league on behalf of Blarney/Rathpeacon and played teams from Kinsale in the West to Cobh and Youghal in the East. Many a referee, noting it was our first year, complemented the coaches on a technically strong and a fabulous team work ethic and camaraderie, a testament to the coaches philosophy, hard work and commitment. Despite busy work schedules and other coaching commitments, coaches turn up week on week with smiles on their faces, strong positive words of encouragement and inventive ideas for fitness, fun and gamesmanship. The respect and opportunities these volunteers have created for the girls is truly inspiring and affords all girls in the area the opportunity to play football. It’s really a moment in history and amazing to see the growth of the team.

Community, Sports