founded in 1981, Rivervalley Rangers FC has been a mainstay on the Fingal soccer scene ever since and last year it celebrated its 40th anniversary.
The longevity of the club has been down to its ability to evolve to cater for the needs of an ever-growing population and as we move towards 2023 it is shifting its focus towards re-developing its girls section.
The club started out with one senior and one schoolboy team and in the early years much of the focus was on providing football for the adults in the growing community. But it wasn’t long before the ever-growing schoolboy section became the primary focus of the club.
Very quickly the need for proper facilities for training/coaching became an issue and in the intervening years Rivervalley have reached out to the boys, girls, men and women in the community and provided structured and competitive football to everyone who wished to participate.
In the late 1990s and early Noughties they boasted one of the largest girls sections in north County Dublin, but unfortunately that wasn’t sustained and they are now once again reaching out to girls from the ages of eight to 16.
Part of the driving force behind this move is newly appointed committee member David O’Connor who says the club should restart their female teams. Having seen girls in Swords Manor and Swords Celtic kits in the area, O’Connor feels that Rivervalley should be catering for the female population too.
The club has a proud record of producing players who go on to enjoy major success at both domestic and international level.
The highlight of the club’s history was the night in June 1998 when Brian Kerr’s Ireland U16 team were crowned European champions, with two members of the team (John Thompson and Brendan McGill) having come through the Rivervalley Rangers ranks.
Indeed the club are now represented in the English Premier League with Val Adedokun (pictured left) who plies his trade with Brentford.
Both Glen Lacey and Davie Sullivan went across to Sunderland, with Conan Byrne winning everything in the domestic game. He now plays with the Rivervalley senior side in the Leinster Senior League, opting to give back to the club who started it all for him.
The feeling is that on the back of the Irish women’s team’s current success that the club may be able to nurture some female talent to rival that of the male success.
The club currently fields 21 junior, three senior and two over-35 teams. They also have an academy for four to seven-year-olds run by Ginny Brown and George Trimble. Interested volunteers can contact the club on their social media pages.
Things are very much on the up also in terms of facilities, and the new all-weather resource opening in Rivervalley Park in the coming months will be a huge addition.
O’Connor said: “There is a feelgood factor around after a tough few years. New faces have instilled the passion again to freshen things up and build from the ground up, with a huge focus on our junior section, coach education through the FAI and ensuring fun and learning are at the forefront of player development, as opposed to a win-at-all-costs attitude which is prevalent among many clubs in relation to their junior sections.”
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