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Carnew living the dream as women’s team goes from strength to strength

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Carnew FC, prior to the game against St. Joseph's at the weekend.

Carnew FC, prior to the game against St. Joseph's at the weekend.

Sophie Kirwan of St. Joseph's is tracked by Carnew's Yasmin Dagge.

Sophie Kirwan of St. Joseph's is tracked by Carnew's Yasmin Dagge.

Katelyn Redmond of St. Joseph's and Carnew's Kym Dixon battle for possession.

Katelyn Redmond of St. Joseph's and Carnew's Kym Dixon battle for possession.

Emerson Doran of St. Joseph's tries to halt the progress of a determined Nicole Curran of Carnew.

Emerson Doran of St. Joseph's tries to halt the progress of a determined Nicole Curran of Carnew.

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Carnew FC, prior to the game against St. Joseph's at the weekend.

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The desire to give his daughter somewhere to play soccer was the driving force behind William Dixon’s decision to start up the Carnew FC women’s team that is now going from strength to strength and becoming much more than just a chance to enjoy a game every Sunday.

In recent weeks the fledgling squad hit some memorable and deserved milestones. They scored their first goal (quickly followed by their second) and won their first competitive game, that being against Ferns United in the Wexford Division 3 North league they play in.

Sadly, with no competition or structure existing within the Garden County for women’s soccer, teams such as Carnew FC, Aughrim, Arklow Town, Glencormac and Enniskerry are forced to enter competitions outside of the county.

An attempt to kick-start a league by the WDFL unfortunately came to nothing in recent times so for now these Wicklow players must do battle beyond the county borders.

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That’s not an issue for William Dixon and his fellow coach Garreth Cullen and their charges, however, because in Peter Doyle and the Wexford Women’s League they have found a cooperative and helpful organisation who are delighted to have teams such as Carnew, Aughrim and Arklow Town doing battle, even creating a Division 3 North section for the early stages of the season to help reduce travel times and costs.

Dixon, whose daughter Kym played underage for Tombrack, says that this new adventure has had its difficult days but that with each passing training session and game and week the team are becoming sharper and more polished and that friendships and a wonderful bond is growing.

“I didn’t really understand the massive job we would have on our hands with this,” said William. “We played Camolin in a friendly and we had only had two training sessions and we struggled with the basics. We shipped a lot of goals in that game, and some other early games. They scored off corners because we couldn’t defend corners. It was simple stuff.

“So, it wasn’t a small job, but the women have been amazing and we’re really getting there. We played Aughrim a while back and I know we lost 6-0 but for 20 minutes I thought we looked the superior team, and I know it’s their first year as well but most of their players have played underage for years, they had a super team down there, whereas some of our players are just starting out in the game,” he said.

“I started this for my daughter. There was no team for her, so we put out a call and it has just taken off. Garreth Cullen is on board with me, and we love it.

“I turn up for training now and the women are there waiting to go. For me it’s all about fitness and some nights there might be heavy sighs when they know what’s coming but I do everything that they do, I do the sprints and everything else. I won’t ask them to do something I wouldn’t do.

“The banter and the craic are great, and the fitness work is paying off,” he added.

And it certainly seems to be. Fair enough, their game last weekend against a very strong St Joseph’s ended in defeat at the Back Alley, but the highlight of the season came the previous weekend when Carnew travelled to Ferns and defeated the home side 0-2 to record their first ever victory.

Future table quizzes in and around Carnew may pose the question as to who the first female player was to score for the first ever adult Carnew FC women’s team and those who remember and write down the name of Ciara Kenny will be correct.

It was talented Ciara who dispatched the ball to the back of the net for Carnew FC’s magical first goal and it wasn’t long until the capable Julie Rawson added the second on what was a super day for the squad.

The Carnew FC team is made up of a very strong group of players who are proving that they can learn fast and adapt. It’s not easy jumping into the deep end when you’re not familiar with the water but they have shown that they are certainly not out of their depth with their performances to date.

Names such as Tara Doran, Yasmin Dagge, Kym Dixon, Ciara Kenny, Julie Rawson, Nicole Curran, Laura Byrne, Sophie Doran, Rachel Dee, Chloe Cullen, Leanne Walsh, Breeda Dixon, Sabrina Kavanagh, Tracy Doyle and others are ones that other teams in the Wexford League will learn about as this endeavour hopefully continues to grow as quickly and positively as it has in just a few short months.

Starting a team is one thing but creating an environment that allows friendships blossom, mothers and daughters to play alongside each other, confidence to grow, belief to take hold and skills and abilities skyrocket is another thing entirely.

To do that you need players who are totally committed and fiercely competitive and William Dixon and Garreth Cullen seem to have ticked those boxes with this current squad while the manager is keen to stress that the door is very much open for any other women in and around the Carnew area who would like to join up.

Even if it’s only for the fitness and social side of it, all are welcome, says William.

What started with William’s hope for his daughter to have a team to play with has grown into a wonderful adventure that is affecting the lives of more than 20 women for the better.

No matter the results, Carnew FC are surely winners regardless!

Carnew FC panel: Leanne Walsh, Chloe Cullen, Rachel Dee, Sophie Doran, Kym Dixon, Breeda Dixon, Laura Byrne, Tara Doran, Hannah Kilbride, Nicole Curran, Kully Talisoo Kavanagh, Yasmin Dagge, Julie Rawson, Sabrina Kavanagh, Abbie Kavanagh, Chloe Kavanagh, Tracy Doyle, Lauren Doyle, Linda Gregan, Aoife Clarke, Nicki Nolan, Alice Hennessey.


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