Monday 22 October 2018

Dundalk City can

Dundalk City Under 16 team members (L-R) Roisin Fearon, Tracy Shields, Kelly Holland, Grace Murray, Leona McConnon and Leanne Gallagher.
Under 16 Manager Noel Curtis with players Ciara Breen and Niamh Curtis.

By John Mulligan Whether it be the Gaelic field or the soccer pitch more and more ladies are taking up the two sports which for a long, long time were the preserve of men.

Just a few short years ago there were just 80 ladies football teams affiliated to the English Football Association, today that number has swelled to over 4,000 and while soccer as the Americans prefer to call the game we call football has never really managed to break the stranglehold of American Football, Baseball, Basketball and Ice Hockey despite FIFA awarding the 1994 World Cup to the nation, the women’s game is flourishing and is a multi million dollar business, regularly attracting crowds over 80,000.

It seems the American Soccer mums are making some headway, even if only with their daughters, while their sons still aspire to follow the footsteps of Joe Montana, Daryl Strawberry, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky rather than compatriots Brad Friedel of Blackburn Rovers and Everton’s Joe Max-Moore.

The sport has even made the silver screen with a cinema hit “Bend it like Beckham”.

“Castletown Girls were first founded fifteen or sixteen years ago by Niall Gallagher to enter the Community Games reaching the All Ireland finals at one time”, explains Dundalk City’s Treasurer, Noel Curtis.

Four years ago the club changed name from Castletown Girls becoming Dundalk City, a name Noel explains was picked to distinguish the club from Dundalk FC.

However, the name change was more than just symbolic as the ladies club moved home from Fatima where they previously played all their matches to Oriel Park.

“We are amalgamated with Dundalk FC although we are a separate entity”, explains the Treasurer who also manages the club’s Under 16 side.

“We get the use of Oriel Park and the pitches for free, but after that we pay for ourselves and do our own fundraising to pay for the costs of running three teams in the Dublin Ladies League. What Dundalk get in return is that we help out by selling lotto tickets on match days and provide some sponsorship”.

However, the partnership with Dundalk FC has worked well for the club, points Noel who pays a compliment to Chairman Des Denning and board member, Tony O’Kane for their willingness to facilitate Dundalk City and Groundsman, Mickey Fox who prepares the pitch and dressingrooms for every home match.

Indeed Noel boasts that the girls compare favourably with their male counterparts and says the club’s present under 14 team would be well matched against any Dundalk Schoolboys League under 13 club team. As the age levels rise so too does the advantage of the boys greater physical strength and therefore Noel feels his under 16 team would have to play an under 14 boys team to get an evenly contested match.

“Our senior team won the McLoughlin Cup and our under 14 team won their league. In the Dublin Ladies Senior League there are four trophies to play for and the McLoughlin Cup is probably the fourth trophy, after the league, the LFA Cup and the Dublin Ladies League Cup”.

Nonetheless, the club were still delighted with their success as they have been playing at senior level for just three years after winning the intermediate league so convincingly that the league allowed the club direct entry into the Premier Division therefore skipping the First Division.

“We train three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and

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