The Fingal Festival of Football, now in its tenth year took place in Sportslink, Santry, on a glorious Saturday afternoon on 18 August. The competition was initially developed as a cross border football tournament for boys. It now caters for 32 teams across five sections: boys, girls, Special Olympics, Powerchair and Irish Street Leagues with teams coming from communities in Ireland & Northern Ireland.
This year’s event saw the second running of the U-10, U-12 girls and U-16 Soccer Festival being held in conjunction with FIFA Live Your Goals campaign, on the day to promote the underage girl’s game. This event consisted of a 5-a-side blitz for U-10 and U-12s, while a mini 11-a-side tournament was held for U-16’s. There were other fun events with the major emphasis being on the girls enjoying themselves.
Ger Dunne, National Women’s Coordinator and assistant coach of the senior women’s national team said: “This is first year we’ve run this programme in conjunction with FIFA. It has already had an impact in Donegal and has massive potential to leave a lasting legacy within Ireland."
Live Your Goals (LYG) campaign objectives are to:
• Spark, foster and establish excitement for women’s football
• Inspire young girls to play football
• Create a positive experience
• Break down prejudice against women’s football
• Turn women’s football into a sport for the masses in the long run
• Make professional women’s football popular
The LYG campaign outlines clear messages, that women’s football is an authentic and attractive expression of a modern lifestyle. It shows optimism, fun, belonging and physical beauty. Women’s football is not just socially accepted but highly respected and has become an integral part of football development in the country.
Commenting on the girl's festival, Paul Keogh, the FAI/Fingal County Council Development officer added; “We had a great turnout of girls for what was a great day out. Girls registered by forming teams, entering club teams or by individual registration. With the success of the Metropolitan girl’s league under the auspice of the NDSL it is an exciting time for girl’s football. This year saw support from FIFA with their Live Your Goals programme which enhanced the event with Sue Ronan, the Senior Women’s Head coach and current Ireland female internationals in attendance.”
FIFA's Live Your Goals campaign continues on its journey around the country as it heads to Wexford next month ahead of the start of Wexford Youths Women’s first home game in the Bus Eireann WNL.
Sue Ronan was once again impressed by the success of the event. “This campaign has proved to be very successful in each of the venues we’ve ran the programme," she said. "The key message was to leave a positive impact of women’s football and it’s clear to see that we’ve achieved that. There were some great displays of football here today, and potentially some future internationals.
"However, I’d encourage the girls to stay involved in the game as long as possible regardless of their level, as long as they’re enjoying it. It’s important to thank all the coaches, volunteers and of course parents that give up their time to ensure the girls can participate at their own level. Well done to Fingal County Council and all the staff that helped coordinate today.”