Sport is for everyone, but some studies show that half of girls give up sports before they reach 14. KISS meets four Irish girls who speak about their love for Gaelic football and how they got invovled. The four teens who are part of Cavan Gaels, admit that there is less support for girls and women in sport than their male counterparts, but that the benefits of being part of a team outweigh any negatives, and that the attitudes toward womens sport is slowly but surely improving.
Rebecca Galligan, 16
I have always been involved in sport from a young age. I joined a football club because my local club, Cavan Gaels, was starting up a ladies club, so I joined through up starting with Gaelic4Girls. My favourite part of being in a football club is making news friends, while also keeping fit. And I like that it keeps me busy at the weekends. I do feel that it’s harder to be a girl in sport because we don’t get as much support as the boys and men.
Sarah Clarke, 14
I have always been involved in sport from a young age. I joined a football club because Dad was always involved in football. My favourite thing about being part of a club is seeing my friends at training, and it gives me something to do too! I think it’s harder being a girl in sport because no one thinks we can do what the boys do when it comes to sport.
Ailish Smith, 18
As a young girl, I was always interested in Gaelic and Camogie , I always wanted to be out and about so I’ve always been involved in sport. I joined Cavan Gaels football club to meet new friends and play football with a group of girls a similar to my age. My favourite part of being in a club is that I love the family feeling of our team as well as having a laugh while getting a good training session in. I think there is more pressure put on a girls when it comes to sport. For example, there is more emphasis on girls’ image while playing sport, also I think that there isn’t as much support for ladies football as there is for men’s.
Aoibhe O Reilly, 12
I got involved in football because I was playing at home with my Daddy when I was really small, then my friends were going to Tornadoes training (for young children) in Cavan Gaels so I started then too. My favourite part of the training is being part of a team and the friends I’ve made. The fact that my dad coaches us is a help as well! I think being a girl in sport is harder, because people think it’s not as important as boys’ sports. However, I do think this perception is improving.
Gaelic 4 Girls (G4G) is a 10 week programme incorporating coaching sessions with fun non-competitive blitzes aimed at increasing participation in Ladies Gaelic Football. The programme targets girls aged between 8-12 years who are not currently registered with a Ladies Gaelic Football club. Find out more here.
The Gaelic4Teens initiative aims to tackle the issue of player retention in the 13-17 years age bracket.