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UEFA go back to roots

UEFA's annual designated Grassroots Day with events throughout Europe was held last Wednesday, with the FAI in Dublin focusing on growing the girls game.

Thirty-one teams, culminating in 175 girls took part in a fun girls 5-a-side festival in the fantastic grounds of Home Farm FC.

The choice of Home Farm FC as the venue, one of Ireland's most prestigious boys clubs, coincided with the Farm being the newest entrant to girls football.

A welcome addition, Home Farm FC have close to 70 girls registered and have received phenomenal interest from girls in their local community.

The Girls Festival which was run in conjunction with Fingal County Council, saw teams from North, South and West Dublin taking part. Twelve clubs were represented, of which six are new entrants to girls football.

In many cases this festival was the first time for some girls to wear their own club colours and play against local girls-only teams.

Commenting on the event Paul Keogh, FAI/ Fingal County Council Development officer, said: "It was a fantastic evening and historic in a way to see such a prominent boys club open their door to girls.

"Girls football continues to grow in Dublin and the metropolitan area and the FAI and Fingal County Council view these events as an important step to assist and encourage more clubs to get involved in girls football."

It was also great to see Noel King, Ireland U21 Senior Men's Head Coach and previously Ireland Senior Women's head coach, in attendance."

Sharon Boyle, Ex-Ireland Senior Women's International & FAI/ Fingal County Council Development officer, who helped co-ordinate the event commented: "Grassroots football is where it all starts and events like today can only help.

"More and more clubs are providing equal playing opportunities for girls which is only right. A special note of thanks to the volunteers who give up so much of their time."

The FAI are delighted to announce two further girls-only festivals.

The next one is in conjunction with South Dublin County Council in Tallaght Stadium on Wednesday, 5th June. Registration is from 6.30pm and the event runs from 7pm-8.30pm.

Following that on the 17th August in conjunction with Fingal County Council Festival of football, there will be a fun girls festival. The age groups for the above fun days are u10, u12 & u13.

To register a team email: paul.keogh@fai.ie or phone: 086-0444435. Alternatively email: Sharon.boyle@fai.ie of phone: 087-1323260.