Set up in 2019, the Louth School Girls League was created to provide soccer opportunities for girls in Louth and east Meath, striving to increase player and club participation, as well as ensuring that pathways would exist for those talented enough to progress in the sport.
Participation numbers have been hugely impressive, but the league is now seeing those hoped-for FAI pathways becoming a reality too.
The 2021 Under-13 ETP girls from Louth competed in the Gaynor Plate decider last month and they have raised the bar for girls soccer in Louth after their phenomenal year, appearing in two all-Ireland finals and winning one of them.
Three of these girls have now been called to attend the Girls U15 National Academy game against Northern Ireland this coming Sunday and congratulations are due to Sarah McCaffrey (Albion Rovers), Niamh Norton (Quay Celtic) and Laura Fanning (Rock Celtic).
In addition, nine of these girls have been invited to attend the FAI’s U15 Centre of Excellence programmes in the first week of February.
Sarah, Niamh and Laura will be involved, as will Ellie McCormack (East Meath United), Beatrice Silickaite (Glen Magic), Robyn Shanley (Glen Magic), McKenzie Crowley (Quay Celtic), Emma Gaughran (Rock Celtic) and Aoife Fanning (Rock Celtic).
These are the stepping stones for all of our budding stars, as they go from county representation on ETP squads through to FAI assessment and training programmes.
And there’s even more good news as the league has had five players called up for the U13 Centre of Excellence camps as well, namely Sophie Clarke (Albion Rovers), Aoibhean Hackett (Albion Rovers), Mya Smith (Boyne Rovers), Carolina Silva Mota (Glen Magic) and Ellen McMahon (Walshestown).
Many of these girls are still involved at club level in the SFAI National Cup and the draw for the last 32 takes place tonight (Tuesday) at 7pm on the SFAI Facebook page. Representing Louth are Bellurgan FC and EMU at U12 level, and Rock Celtic and EMU at U14 level.
Fingers crossed for a good draw and a short commute!